Rule of Rose (PS2): A loyal dog, a princess, and a rusty steel pipe…
A good horror experience will ask the important questions: what is the nature of evil? Is death ever truly final? What kind of hospital needs a zodiac sign puzzle-operated door? Amongst the various preoccupations of the horror genre is a longstanding fasination with children. Children are scary precisely because we expect purity and innocence from them, and yet they exhibit many of our worst traits unfiltered (cruelty, jealousy, narcisscism, idleness, fickleness…). I didn’t know I had been waiting for a game that explored the psychological dimensions of young girls’ friendships… until I played Rule of Rose. Continue reading
Boys to Men: Casual gamers and the PlayStation 1
Filthy. Casuals. Two words that are put together far too often when discussing videogames on the internet. Well, fact is, everyone has to start somewhere! And while the influx of so-called “casual” and “lapsed” gamers during the Wii generation is oft-discussed (not least on this very blog), the original PlayStation’s appeal to a new, older audience doesn’t get nearly the same level of attention. But if we turn our eyes to the late nineties, the figures don’t lie. The 32-bit generation of consoles – PlayStation, N64 and Saturn combined expanded the videogame market enormously, with approx. 144 million consoles sold in total versus approx. 80 million between Super Nintendo and the Megadrive/Genesis in the previous generation. That’s a whole lot of new gamers.
Now I have to admit I have this slightly weird, anthropological fascination with the topic because over the years I’ve met several adults who were first drawn to gaming during the PlayStation era. Maybe they’d played games before, but not to this extent and certainly never buying a console. I’d like to share anecdotes of a few people I know personally before giving some context for the gaming industry’s attempts to attract an older crowd to gaming. Continue reading
Crashing and burning in Sky Odyssey (PS2)
Failure in games (as in life) has its own special rhythm. At some point, retrying the same relentlessly tough mission over and over again in Sky Odyssey, I became aware that my repeated crashes were following a pattern. It goes something like this: I start with one or two no-nonsense attempts at a mission. These attempts are cut short by the inevitable plane crash at an especially tight turn in a canyon or a tricky manoeuvre in an underground cavern. After these serious attempts, it’s a downward spiral into silliness. Continue reading
Weird Video Wednesday: Show us Star Fox 64… or else
I love that this promo video, which was delivered to Nintendo Power subscribers in the U.S. on VHS, features such hammy acting. I love that they thought to dress up two guys as Sega and Sony, and that Sony’s catchphrase is “big boy”. What do two guys dressed up as Sega and Sony look like anyway? Well, obviously, they’re two guys wearing shirts with the company logos emblazoned on them. And they make quite a tag team here too, as they storm Nintendo of America HQ hunting for the “secrets” of their latest game, Star Fox 64 (or Lylat Wars, as it was called in Europe). I love that they extract information from these guys by threatening to torture a stuffed Mario doll. I love that the actors hold the N64 controller in the incorrect way – so just like everyone else picking up an N64 controller for the first time then.
In fact I think we can safely say that I love everything about this video. Thanks Nintendo Power. Now, can we get an updated, Star Fox Zero-ed version of this? I want to see Reggie Fils-Aime being gassed by a Pizza Hut branded box (he used to work for them you see), wielded by some mad Microsoft employee.
Weird Video Wednesday: Cho Aniki: Kyuukyoku Muteki Ginga Saikyou Otoko
Cho Aniki: Kyuukyoku Muteki Ginga Saikyou Otoko (literal translation: “Super Big Brother: The Ultimate, Most Powerful Man in the Milky Way”) is an awkward and bizarre addition to the PSN’s “PS1 classics” selection that breaks with just about every conceivable interpretation of the word “classic”. And yet while Cho Aniki may not have been everyone’s first PS3 digital purchase, it was mine. Was it worth it? Well, frankly, yes, as besides being incredibly strange, it’s a – how do I put this – not-terrible game in its own right.
What’s special about this game then? Well, every Cho Aniki game is weird, but this PS1 and Saturn game raises the weirdness to new highs thanks to the inclusion of live actors. Yes, real people dressed up and posed in front of a green screen to make this game!
For the video, the entire game deserves to be here but I’d better save that – don’t want to blow my load now, do I? Instead I want to spotlight the delightful intro to the game as it doesn’t get enough attention. So brace yourself for what looks and feels like an internet meme, before memes existed.
If that doesn’t do it for you, I don’t know what will. There’s only one proper response to an introduction like this, surely: my body is ready.