Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday afternoon tidbits

Feeling pretty run down this week. Swine flu? I'll try to pump out some links here before I collapse.

-Ron Gilbert revisits The Secret of Monkey Island. He is much less sentimental than a fan of the game would be (like, oh, this guy right here). He lauds certain design choices, noting that what he chose to cut was often more important than what he included, while criticizing others. It's a really interesting read. I'm more excited than ever now for the remake, especially knowing that there's a toggle between the updated graphics and the original.

-Bill Harris joins the anti-inFamous coalition. We're building a movement now! As always, his comments are well considered and to the point, but I was struck by his observation about Crackdown. He's right: its initial reception was hardly rapturous. A Metacritic score of 83 is good, but not great. It's gained cachet since its release -- correctly, in my view -- but it goes to show you that instant analysis isn't always correct. Which means that anybody saying that inFamous is better than Crackdown may want to give it a few months.

-I still haven't played The Path, but after reading an interview with the developers at Press Pause to Reflect (not to mention, you know, a ton of other stuff about it), I'm tempted. I especially appreciated this challenge to other indie devs: "We should be out there, exploring deeply in the potential of the medium. But most of us are happy to stick to tried-and-true ideas and we merrily re-use retro-genres."

-Not video game related, but I couldn't believe this story that G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is the lowest-testing film in the history of Paramount Studios. Of course it looks terrible -- beyond bad -- but still, that's pretty damned impressive. The lowest focus group ratings ever? We are in rarefied air here. Speaking as the guy who voluntarily watched Uwe Boll's The House of the Dead more than once, I'm now convinced I'll have to see this movie.

That's all I got this week. Looks like I'll be diving into Red Faction: Guerrilla this weekend. Fingers crossed!


Gary A. Lucero said...

Red Faction Guerrilla is a good game. Much better than Mercenaries 2, and I actually played that one quite a bit...

But in the end Red Faction Guerrilla didn't hold my interest. If I played multi-player maybe that would have sustained me, but in the end I probably sunk 10 hours into the game and then traded it on Goozex...

Back to Mass Effect as I wait for the next Fallout 3 DLC to hit...

Simon Ferrari said...

Ah, open world nonsense! I'm doing Prototype this weekend and Guerrilla next weekend. I wonder if I'll be so burnt out after these three (inFamous being the third) that I won't be able to ever finish The Lost & The Damned, or play the genre ever again.

I'm struck by the desire to go re-play the old Spider Man game that started the building-climbing sub-genre, just to see if anything has changed.

feitclub said...

I'm stunned that of all the games he's dumped on, the latest Zero Punctuation has almost nothing bad to say about inFamous. Coming from a guy who hates everything, that's an A+ review.

I'm still on the (invincible chain link) fence about inFamous. The demo was horrible but so many people around me seem to love it.

bbn said...

The Path is definitely fascinating in the context of modern games. I mean, it doesn't do anything particularly revolutionary in terms of game structure or graphics, but in terms of design and as a game it's really interesting.

Because it does all these contradictory things and has such a vague "plot", I'd argue that by it's deconstructing our notion of "video game". That's why everyone is so divided as to whether it is indeed a game.

After this, we won't be able to take for granted what is and isn't considered a "video game". It's a fun time to be playing games.

There is a good post on it at the blog Touché, Bitches! ( about this very issue. Definitely read it!