Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ending the Silence

Sadly, it's been weeks since I've posted anything on this blog.

My recent silence was for two very specific reasons: a) I've been trying to figure personal things out, and b) I moved to a much nicer (a.k.a. bigger/cleaner/incredible) space. Remember folks, I've been out here on the west coast for over a year, so it was due time for an upgrade from my previous misery-filled cubby hole of a room. Plus, my new roommates are fabulous! Even though they are all non-gamers, they've adapted to my quirky habits, eventually joining me on a few occasions.

I have to say that taking time off did me a whole lot of good. I got to enjoy "Too Human", despite the enormous amount of hate the game received two months ago. I also finished Quantic Dream's "Indigo Prophesy" - a game that sounds like a much cooler experience when you replay it, or if you share your experiences in some sort of group discussion. I've done neither, and the game's ending did disappoint like most games do, but there were still plenty of things I enjoyed in this game, particularly the character development.

I didn't expect to enjoy this game when I discovered you can control four central character's in the story. Blame other games I've played where it ended up as very cut, copy, and paste. Surprisingly, this system lead to some interesting discoveries for me. It felt like I was trying to play mental chess against myself. The game forces you would hide the evidence from yourself, and then try to find it again.

Take the opening murder sequence, as an example. You can choose to clean up the mess and hide the murder weapon, only to return an examine the crime scene later as a completely different character. You're role is transferred, as you attempt to catch yourself, if that makes any sense. I'm not sure if I'm just getting too old for this sot of thing, but I have to admit that I found this story-telling mechanic astounding, even if it felt very point-and-click-adventure-ish (an obvious influence for the design team).

I'd like to write some more about it one day, but my recent obsession with RockBand 2 stands in the way. Here are a few other notable things that happened (either to me or on the web) while I was away:

- Variety's Ben Fritz spoiled the shit out of one special enemy in the Force Unleashed. Great article, but shame on you Ben. Shame.

- I finished "Bionic Commando: Rearmed", my personal favorite downloadable game of the year (so far, anyway).

- John Davison made a critical statement about the relevance of reviews to an average consumer over on his personal blog and What They Play.

- I went to PAX 2008 and saw a lot of games and even more gamers.

- The new season of the 1UP Show has a very creative opening title segment you can't help but love. Seriously kids, you should be watching this every week. This week, the crew checks out Bionic Commando (not Rearmed, the other one), Spore, and a possible late great title from Sega, Yakuza 2.

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