Can’t Escape the Escapism Part 2

There are reasons why we can’t escape certain games. And there’s a reason why it matters. Sometimes a game comes to mind simply because something in our real world reminds us of it. Once, I was on a campsite standing at the edge of a cluster of trees and the light of the setting sun fell in such a way to make me say, “ohmygoditlookslikezelda!” Now, I love Zelda games and I’ve spent many hours with them, but that’s the only time the land of Hyrule came close to interfering with my perception of the real world.

Other times, a game comes to mind simply because it’s awesome. We like it enough that we wish some of its elements actually existed. When I was younger, I wanted to be Strider Hiryu. →  Read the rest

Can’t Escape the Escapism Part 1

There’s something about GTA. After playing it for hours, I found myself walking the streets of Manhattan and contemplating a car-jacking. Don’t tell Jack Thompson, but I know I’m not the only one. My pal and I spent hours taking turns giving the Liberty City Police the run-around. When we returned to the real world and spotted an expensive car, we only had to look at each other to know we were thinking the same thing.

GTA isn’t the only series with this effect on my mind. I’ve walked around malls with Tony Hawk whispering in my ear, “You could use that as a ramp and then grind the fountain. Look over there! I bet you could jump that.”

Sometimes the most mentally invasive games are nothing like the real world, just mere abstractions. →  Read the rest

Paranoid Identity Crisis!

Fanboys unite! Constant squabbles echo among Nintendo, Sony, and Xbox loyalists, but the real battle is elsewhere. It’s a battle between the different ways people choose to spend their free time and their extra dollars. Games are a big and growing part of this battle and they have taken a bite out of that tasty aged 18-34 male demographic. Can games hold onto it? Do they even want to?

Nintendo has set itself the challenge of trying to hold onto some of gaming’s biggest loyalists while making appeals to nontraditional audiences like retirees. And it’s well known that Sony and Microsoft have had their eyes on a bigger prize ever since they stepped in the ring. They both want to eventually establish their brands and platforms for the mythical must-have TV set-top box. →  Read the rest

Stop making it so hard to say I love you: A list of gamer’s demands

Look, we know each other pretty well and I think it’s time I talk to you about some of your bad habits. In the course of many years of gaming, I’ve found myself infuriated (in-fucking-furiated!) by problems that should have disappeared long ago. I think if you take an honsest look at yourself, you’ll see that you do these things just to get on my last nerve. Let’s resolve you’ll fix them once and for all.

Let me pause. Every game, any time. Sometimes I need space. I don’t care if I’m in the final boss fight. I might have to pee. Let me pause during all cutscenes. Yes, it’s engrossing to hear some big-eyed character finally confess his love to another big-eyed character or watch my current action hero do some bad-ass moves that I can’t actually do in the game, but I might still want to pause. →  Read the rest