Thursday, 26 November 2009

Spaced out

I recently completed Dead Space, which is a slightly-better-than-average survival horror game set in, erm, space. It looks a bit like one of Alien's bastard children, albeit one of the ones that managed to get into university as opposed to one of the ones who dropped out in order to spend more time sniffing glue. Its one innovation is that enemies are dispatched not by a carefully-aimed head shot as in most shoot 'em ups, but by dismembering their limbs, one by one.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Put that Gameboy away and go and read a book.

After listening to a deeply unsatisfying debate on on Radio 4's Today programme, I was tempted to write about violence with regards to Modern Warfare 2, but I honestly think there's been enough comment on that this week and I'd do well to leave it until the dust has settled and I can write something that draws on my research rather than my irritation.

So I decided to revert to the original plan, which was to examine the phenomenon of thirty-year-old commuters who play video games on hand-held consoles on public transport. I admit that I approached the subject with a fair amount of disdain, for what sort of grown-up plays games on the train? Grown-ups should be reading books, right?

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Tetris: The Movie

Whether or not you consider yourself to be a video game enthusiast, you're probably aware that films that are adapted from video games aren't very good. Video game adaptations of films have a more chequered and occasionally successful history, but that's another post altogether.

First, let's briefly separate adaptations of existing video games from films about fictional video games. Films such as Tron and War Games. Video games are conceptually interesting because you have control characters, so they open up questions about autonomy and reality. Although many valiant efforts prove risible - such as eXistenZ, whose questions about the nature of reality are rather lost amongst footage of Jude Law inserting a glistening "pod" into Jennifer Jason Leigh's "bio-port" - the potential is there, and everybody knows that Tron is a modern classic.