Cuba has its first horror film, but I’m waiting for its first Jennifer Anniston romcom. The whole movie looks like it was shot in front of a green screen, but the political subtext of Cubans killing American zombies could make Juan of the Dead a novel take on the zombie genre. It’ll be running in October at a Spanish film fest, but there are no North American screenings scheduled yet according to its official website.
In an attempt to completely destroy any reader interest the headline of this post may have generated, let’s start with two facts about myself:
1) I am a fan of dorky fantasy RPGs in the Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age vein.
2) I am arachnophobic.
It’s a source of constant frustration that the above two facts aren’t really reconcilable with one another. In fact, I often feel like they are constantly in conflict. One of my most vivid gaming memories occurred during the opening hours of Dragon Age: Origins, a game that, aside from its generous helping of spidery bits, seemed designed specifically to push all of my nerdiest buttons. Unfortunately, this memory was not a pleasant one and almost made me put the game away for good.
LA Noire came out on Tuesday, and has been heralded as both the Game That Cures Cancer as well as a stultifying slog. With its groundbreaking facial animation tech and somber, slow burn story, it certainly seems to be a different animal than most video games about a man who professionally caries a firearm (ie: if you do everything right, you almost never have to shoot it). Here are some thoughts on the first few hours.
First thing’s first: it works.
With another podcast behind us, it behooves me to write something about Brink before I am absorbed into the two-pronged Time Trap that is The Witcher 2 and LA Noire.
Brink is an unusual game for a lot of reasons, though one of the most interesting to me is the way reviews scattered upon release. This isn’t typical of videogames. While it’s common for films, books and music to inspire a broad range of opinions, games tend to cluster. Part of this is owed, I suspect, to the culture of the mainstream gaming press, though a bigger part of it is more likely the result of games existing, solely and purely, to entertain. Movies can but don’t have to be “fun” in the same way that nearly every videogame has to be. I’m allowed to like both Fast Five and The White Ribbon for different reasons.
But am I allowed to like Brink?
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was released on Tuesday, May 17th – the same day as LA Noire, because the entire videogame industry is involved in a conspiracy to make my cat die of starvation and my girlfriend leave me, probably for playing videogames for so long I forgot to feed the cat. Because the game is way too big and I’m way too employed to play through the thing in the timeframe I’d like to for review, what follows are some general impressions based on, if Steam is to be believed, the first 117 minutes of gameplay.
Which is another way of saying: Not much of the damn thing at all.
Episode 7 of Read, Listen, Watch, Play is now available. In this episode, the whole crew gets together to talk Casanova, Gang Gang Dance, TV on the Radio, The Wire, Game of Thrones, Dollhouse, Thor, Hobo with a Shotgun, Portal 2 and more. Plus Ben comes to the shocking conclusion that a show called 16 and Pregnant doesn’t have much to offer the world.
While Brandon Graham’s vibrant, graffiti inspired, bursting with detail and oh so hip artwork was what brought me to King City in the first place and certainly kept me coming back, it wasn’t my favourite thing about the book. Nor were the barrage of deliberately awful visual puns he crammed into every crack of his pages, though they certainly helped the grins per page ratio. It wasn’t even that Graham constructed a world filled with cat masters (basically Green Lanterns, except instead of rings that give life to their thoughts they inject their cats with fluid that allows them to perform very unfelinic shenanigans), strawberry loving water nymphs, post-traumatic stress disorder riddled war vets who slowly find their extremities transforming into the drug they’re addicted to, and a variety of similarly high concept bonkersness at every turn. Even with its ludicrous sci-fi setting, boundless playfulness and unflagging hipness, what really drew me into King City was the day-to-day.
Episode 6 of Read, Listen, Watch, Play is now available. In this episode, Ben, Kyle, Jeff and Garth discuss Community, Exit Through A Gift Shop, The League, Pokemon, Weedle, Minecraft, Archer, Chicago Code, Raekwon, Planetary and why you should probably have sex with everything in video games.
The other day a particularly nerdy corner of the internet briefly lifted their heads and let loose a blared, braying klaxon call (the method of communication of choice on the internet) when BioWare Lead Writer David Gaider admirably waded into to the mud to tell an anonymous commenter that his preposterous assertion that BioWare deliberately ignored straight, male gamers in Dragon Age 2 was preposterous. Gaider does a good job of wooshing through the holes in the commenter’s position while delivering some well construed thoughts on majority entitlement and the like. I’ll leave it to you to read Gaider’s comments, because, though the issue provides a nice opening, it’s not exactly what I want to talk about. The commenter’s silly argument aside, his problem emanates from a phenomenon that is completely nonsensical to me: he’s playing Dragon Age 2 as himself, or at least a version of himself that can shoot fireballs or whatnot. Read More