I’m so sick of Good Guys, I could arrest a pedophile! — Part Deux

After my rant about the depiction of globally destructive forces of Evil in video game plots, I should like to turn my attention to the other side of the ancient coin: the Good. That’s right, I’m sick of that too. I am sick of the way in which the depiction of the Good Guys in the majority of games, movies and popular novels, usually serves to reaffirm people’s faith in figures of authority.

Let me ask you a question: you know how at the end of a story, after the hero defeats an evil, all-mighty villain, in a lengthy battle that completely obliterates several city blocks or maybe even Paris, just before the credits start rolling, a fleet of cop cars swarm onto the scene?… Read the rest

I’m so sick of Evil, I could murder an innocent child! — Part Un

This post, like all of my ramblings, has to do with specific complaints about videogame plots and story premises in general. (Don’t worry, I’ll try to keep the use of the word ‘narrative’ to a minimum.) First, on my list of narrative annoyances: Evil. As the title of this piece suggests I’m sick of it. Every game, (and movie, or popular novel) it seems, features some sort of an ancient, newly discovered, supra-galactic, underground, Mayan, divine, satanic, it-was-man, undead, insectoid, magic, mechanical, cybernetic, EVIL force, character, or organization bent on destroying everything in existence. Worlds, galaxies, universes and parallel universes are ceaselessly under threat of obliteration.… Read the rest

Review – Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Sequels suck. Prequels putrefy. And spin-offs spin out of control. And yet, so often when a story we enjoy ends, whether in the terra-forming of Arrakis or bodily ascension to heaven, we are reluctant to let go. We refuse to accept that resurrecting something so that it can go on eternally is usually a bad idea (I’m looking at you evangelicals.) The exceptions, (and there are a few: Godfather II, Red Dragon, The Simpsons, The Bible Goes West) prove the rule. So, when one of these quality exceptions of a continuing storyline comes onto the scene, especially in our medium, I think it’s time to take a holiday from derision and give the credit where it’s due.… Read the rest

Finished with the Next Gen — A jumble of an article

I have had an Xbox 360 for about three months. Under normal circumstances such a short period of time would never be enough to wear down the novelty of this fantastic new toy. However, about three weeks ago tragedy struck. (No red circles were involved, the box works fine). I accidentally deleted about 25 hours worth of progress in one of my all time favorite games: Culdcept. The second I realized what I had done, I almost vomited from grief. I had gotten more than halfway through the game collecting about 300 of the 500 available cards, and all of it went up in smoke with a simple misclick.… Read the rest

Best Game Ever – Drug Wars

About two years ago my mother walked in on me… Playing Drug Wars. (Get it? You thought I was going to say “masturbating.” But I pulled the old switcharoo on you. Ha…haha…h…sigh…) Anywho, my mom walked in and asked:

“What are you doing, Gunter?” Normally, it’s her loving nickname for me, but the emphasis on the word made it sound like something dirty.

And I said, “Why mother dearest, I am playing Drug Wars!” I indicated the exclamation point by spreading my hands and doing a quick shuffle.

“What Wars?!” she said; indicating the question mark/exclamation mark combination by fainting.

“Drug Wars” I repeated, waving the smelling salts beneath her nostrils.… Read the rest

Review – Mass Effect

I am an RPG player. It is worth mentioning this up front as something relevant to the review which is to follow. I enjoy the genre of RPG’s enough to call it my favorite. Now, I say this because I realize that not everyone is like me. One of my best friends confessed to me recently that while he used to be an ardent RPG player in his younger days (when his life generally consisted of boredom and peer hatred in high school instead of daily responsibilities and peer hatred at work) now he simply has no time for serious gaming commitments that last for more than a few hours.… Read the rest

Hysteria Over Mass Effect and the Infantilization of America: On the Benefits of Exposing Children to Adult Material

Volumes have already been written regarding the recent clash between several conservative pundits and the gaming community over ‘objectionable’ material in BioWare’s newest addition to the RPG genre, Mass Effect. What the conservative pundits found abhorrent was that the game offers the option for the main character to develop a romantic involvement with a bi-sexual member of another species which culminates in a 40 second love scene somewhere around the 30 hour mark of game play. Yet another editorial in defense of the game would likely serve little to no purpose. (A forthcoming review of Mass Effect will hopefully provide all the defense the game needs from misinformed critics.)… Read the rest

Defending the Obsidian Knights

It is now common knowledge that Obsidian was forced to rush the release of Knights of the Old Republic II. As a result, one of the most common complaints about the game is that it has an abrupt ending. As a matter of fact, whenever I would tell any of my videogame savvy friends that I had finally picked up KOTOR II they would almost always unanimously say something along the lines of: “it’s good but the ending is rushed.” I believe it was Jay who actually told me that the game has bits of unfinished dialogue coded into it that the developers were forced to scrap due to time constraints.… Read the rest

Hidden costs of next gen gaming or how HD killed the video star

So, here is what happened: I got an Xbox 360 as a gift for Christmas. I had requested it as a gift because I knew that to purchase it on my own would mean a few months of saving; something I’m not good at. I’ve got student loans to pay and blow to snort; there’s just no room for savings in my life. I appreciated the gift and received it with the grace of Ernest Borgnine; but, in the back of my head I braced myself for the added expense of having to buy at least one new game a month.… Read the rest

Best Game Ever — Baldur’s Gate 2, Shadows of Amn

When Jay asked me to write a “Best Game Ever” entry for Baldur’s Gate 2, my first instinct was to refuse the offer. Why? Because I love the game too much and I feared that nothing I could write would do it justice. It would be like trying to write a review for New York City. I mean where would you even begin something like that? How would you dissect something so steeped in its own mythology? Would you even want to? And just because here I am writing, does not mean that sentiment has changed. Whatever ideas I might express here will ultimately fall short of accurately encompassing the experience of playing Baldur’s Gate 2.… Read the rest