Thursday, August 16, 2007

Oh Glorious Pixels!

Much like sports, there is a video game off-season which occurs during late spring and summer. I guess it makes it sense with the kids having school off. There are also conventions like E3 which is like the owners meetings for sports leagues. It is basically a very sparse time for new games. There might be one or two that come out that might be worth picking up (i.e. Overlord) but usually it's where bad games are dumped in the hopes that the desperate gamers will pick it up simply to play something new. Wise gamers though know not to fall for that. They know that during the off season is when you put aside your budgeted video game funds in preparation for the video game season. Around mid-August the video game season picks up again. It usually always begins with the new Madden game followed by a slew of games for the Holiday season, and then a few more during those cold winter months of the new year.

This season is actually looking to be one of the bigger seasons. I've got my list to thirteen games that will be released between now and Christmas that I'm either instantly going to purchase, or have a strong interest in. Warning: Some of the videos have some strong violence. Stranglehold being the worst of the lot.

The List:

Is probably my most anticipated title of the year. Any game that claims Atlas Shrugged as a major influence is clearly not your average first person shooter. This game has me expecting a game of the year spot at my end of the season list.

Apparently a lot of people have played the first two games. Should be worth checking out.

A video game sequel to the John Woo movie Hardboiled? I've played the demo about five times. Is it revolutionary? No. But there is something about sliding down a banister in slow mo and taking out bad guy by shooting signs and air conditioners to collapse on them, and then when you reach the end of the banister you can then jump on a cart and slide along and take out more bad guys. Then tack on a multiplayer where you can do this all against your friends. I'm in. Just a warning Sam. There are in fact headshots in this game.

This game and Bioshock are neck and neck in my most anticipated games this year. Because Bioshock comes out next week, it gets the win. Mass Effect is by the same guys that did Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire. I really don't need to say any more.

Yes, in the span of one month two games full guitar rock goodness will be released. That's over 140 songs for me to "pretend rock" to. That doesn't even include the albums that Rock Band will allow you to download. And a wireless guitar! Good grief I'm giddy.

Here's the rest of the bunch I'm looking forward to:

Mercenaries 2: I'm looking forward to being able to demolish everything and I mean everything.

Time Shift

Army of Two

Assassin's Creed

Kane & Lynch

Beautiful Katamari

Half-Life 2 Orange Box


JIFF Divingboard said...

OK, because of the description of the game being (partially) based on Atlas Shrugged, I looked at the trailer for BioShock. This was so STRANGE. I wish you could listen to the reviewer w/o watching the scenes. He really does set this experience up as being fairly high-minded and, truly, thought-provoking (literature-esque). But THEN you see the images. While this guy is talking about Dostoevsky and Rand, you're seeing the game -- a guy's arm holding a wrench, beating a zombie with it. Then, as he's talking about how "most programmers don't bother with character build-ups, well, this game does" you see the main guy in a robot suit shooting a drill through a guy's chest.

I'm glad people (you, Brad) like games like this. There's something fun to it. But when the muckety-mucks making these things try to PRETEND like they're out to win Pulitzers, but are really making shoot-em-ups... well, it seems like quite the farce.

Again, I'm not against these games. Just the pretense that sometimes surrounds 'em.

Bradford said...

There are a couple problems with this video review. The main one you point out is something even I find myself doing sometimes. There are those in video gaming that are so desperate to have video games viewed as a legitimate art or at least something beyond a teenage boy time waster that when a game comes along showing an inkling of original thought or tells a good story they go a little overboard. So a game designer thought what if we make a game where John Gault type character creates an underwater utopia only it's all gone horribly wrong. Throw in decisions that affect more than whether the player lives or dies, and you've created a game that will get these people bustling. Make the game play well both technically and within the genre of the game and you will often get what you have in the video.

Which leads to the second problem of this video and that is the footage. The problem with ambitious or unique games is that they often don't sell well. (See Psychonauts or Shadow of the Colossus) So when a game like this comes out there is often a big push by these people to get that game out there, thinking if this sells well maybe a few less formulaic games will get made and the publishers will take a chance on original ideas. Considering the money and years that go into making a game, it's become an industry that thrives on sequels even more than the movie industry, and leaves little room for independent projects. But how do you try to persuade the gamers who are happy with their WWII shooters and MAddens? Well, apparently you make a video like you see above showing all the cool ways you can blow stuff and people up. They also were probably very cautious not to give away any of the story considering the only part of the story they show is what you can see in the demo. So what you have is a review trying to sell the game as literature-esque combined with video trying to sell the game to the masses.

Anyway, is this game literature-esque? No, and it is a tad ridiculous to try to put games in that category. Could they ever become high-minded? Not with the market and culture of gaming the way it is. Though a game like Shadow of the Colossus does give me hope. To me it is probably the greatest video game ever made because (Perhaps I should be ashamed to admit this) it was able to create a moment in its story where I got a bit misty eyed twice. I will defend that it is valid form of story telling. And now I'm finished with what is giving me flashbacks to me high school English persuasive speech: "Comic Books Aren't For Kids Anymore."

Jess said...

I can't wait for GHIII -or- Rock Band. I don't know if we'll get GHIII for the PS2 or the Wii, and I know we'll have to wait until we get a 360 for Rock Band. I'm currently playing through GHII (I bought it a few months ago) and cannot wait for more!