Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday afternoon tidbits

Going to be an interesting weekend. I made the mistake of signing up for National Novel Writing Month, which starts on Sunday. There goes my November.

-Brinstar wrote an interesting and all-encompassing look at Uncharted 2. Her comments on the game's portrayal of its female characters are right on. Despite the hyper-sexualized appearance of Chloe, both of the female leads are given actual personalities and motivations. Even better, they act like adults. They're not catty broads who fight over our bashful hero. Brinstar says that "[creative director] Amy Hennig stood her ground on gender issues like this many times over," which certainly wouldn't surprise me, and goes to show how much your game can be improved when you have a diversity of voices onboard.

-Torchlight seems to be dominating a lot of people's time right now. Elysium at Gamers with Jobs writes about the joy of being surprised by a game, which is something I couldn't agree with more. There's some fun in anticipating things, yes, but it always seems like you're setting yourself up for disappointment if you get too excited. Much better to be gobsmacked by something out of nowhere. (Re: Torchlight, it sounds interesting, but I can only accommodate one soul-consuming dungeon crawler at a time, and there's this game called Borderlands.)

-Shawn Elliott (him again?) predicts the upcoming controversy about Modern Warfare 2. I've not yet watched the opening sequence of the game, and in fact wish I didn't know anything about it before playing the game (thanks, Twitter!). Still, I respected the way that Call of Duty 4 coldly regarded the devastating impact of modern military technology, and I would expect its sequel to similarly pull no punches. The notion of killing civilians is, of course, shocking. I suspect that is the intent. Without context, it's impossible for us to say yet whether this serves a greater philosophical point, or, at least, a compelling narrative.

-Congratulations to Ben and the gang at Critical Distance, whose "Week in Game Criticism" roundups are now being syndicated at GSW and Gamasutra. Here's hoping this means a whole new audience for all the great writers Ben spotlights each week. And that he starts including Insult Swordfighting more often!


Quinn said...

I did Nano twice and I loved it. Just don't think to hard and let the momentum carry you to victory. Good luck!

Julian said...

Man, what terrible timing for Torchlight to come out. You're not the only person I've heard saying they're not getting it right now because they're too busy with Borderlands. They are both angling for the same niche: pure doses of everything that makes grinding fun pumped straight into the pleasure centers of your brain. But Borderlands has better marketing and a shiny coat of New in the form of an FPS interface, while Torchlight has to rely on its underdog status, developer pedigree and unwavering focus on polish.

Humingway said...

Shawn Elliott's a girl!