Sunday, 19 June 2011

Confessions of a (currently former) gamer

Hello friends,

Having now been living in Den Haag for a couple of weeks, inspiration has been all around me. As a creative, I look for new experiences and information from which to build my next set of creative musings. Being in a new city entirely opens both the eyes and the mind to exciting stimuli.  The fruits of my work will be aired soon on youtube I imagine.

Gotta love wasting time playing games right?
There is something that still seems to have a strange hold on me from my old games. I don't understand quite why myself, but I still am fascinated by them. I haven't had the chance to play any new game for a few months now (last one being Dead Space 2, AMAZING GAME!), but I still manage to dedicate chunks of my time to gaming thanks to youtube and (mainly) Gamespot.

Every day there are new videos, reviews, updates, exclusive behind the scenes snippets, downloadable content (DLC for short of course), screenshots, demo's, multiplayer expansion packs, new skins (for your characters in games, not for you), new levels, new challenges, new new new new new new ...

It's an industry that just keeps expanding like the waste band of a former burger junkie on his 'all you can eat' celebration buffet for having lost 40st. There seems to be no end to the new gadgetry, wizardry, special effects-atry and innovation. I am constantly excited like a ten year old boy by the advancements in this area. Take a game that is currently in development that has me a little wet in the pants area,  'Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception'. I was a huge fan of the first game, and the second one improved on the first in every single way (something that games tend to do, but films tend to never do). Games developers tend to listen to their fans wants and desires, rather then just box office sales. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves won lots of game awards in 2009 and raised the bar once again on action adventure games. My favourite section of that game had involved running up a moving train, going from carriage to carriage past beautiful scenery, while being shot at by a big helicopter which has the uncanny ability to destroy the carriage you were just in. The whole section is so immersive that my heart pounded while playing, something that film has trouble invoking in me to anywhere near the same degree.

For Uncharted 3, the developers (Naughty Dog) have listened to the fans of the second game, taken on board any negative comments, listened to all of the praise, and gone away to develop a game that goes further then the second one had. What if films did this? Imagine a film franchise that tried to do this in the past, it rarely, if ever, works out. If the first film in a 'franchise' does well, the second one will usually be a carbon copy of the first, same story just tweaked a bit to play up to the first films strengths. This isn't true across the board of course, but nothing ever bloody well is these days.
Uncharted 3 will be amazing, I am sure. And I won't get to play it for ages I expect, probably not until the 4th game is in development and all computer games are injected directly into your eyes for full immersion gaming experiences. You will buy games in syringes with pretty labels on the side and the sales assistant will be fully trained to administer the eye injection.

Oh well, I shouldn't grumble, the industry is still there getting better, and another break from the gaming world will only mean that when I return (and I WILL return) the games will have advanced yet another leap and I can get all excited over the pixilated loveliness and realistic graphics. Until then I will just waste time watching youtube video's about games. At least when they do a remake in the game world it is usually worth something, unlike in the film industry. For example here, the one game that might manage to bring me back out of retirement early will be the new SSX game.

the new SSX game, OMG this will be awesome!!
I can't remember what SSX stands for, but one of the S's mean's snowboarding, for sure. I know this because it is a snowboarding game. I was a massive fan of the Cool boarders series on the original playstation, but switched to the SSX series of games after SSX Tricky came out. Now that game was amazing, you could do the most insane (and obviously impossible) twists and turns tricks in mid air while throwing yourself down a mountain on a snowboard. I rinsed the game dry, and then did the same to SSX3 when that came out.

Now, you may not know this about me, but I like to partake in the green herb of the gods from time to time, and this "habit" is perfect for gaming (as many, many other stoner games will agree with, I'm sure). With a game like SSX, staring at the screen as the character rides down through the beautiful pixilated mountain ranges kept me from doing much more important life changing duties like studying or house chores or exercise (I'm told that finger exercising doesn't count, apparently!). I did every challenge in the game, with every character, and then I did it all again. SSX has taken so many hours of my life that I could probably sue it for compensation. It would be a difficult court case, but one that might make the headlines at the very least.

SSX, an experience without breaking your knees off.
The appeal of a game like this, and indeed, almost any game, is the chance to do something that you can't do in everyday normal coffee drinking life. I could go snowboarding, I could go tomorrow if I could afford it, but I would not be very good at it. I might manage to bump my way down a small hill, hurting myself countless times in the process, but without huge sums of cash and lots of training I am never going to be able to double backflip out of a halfpipe and land on a rail suspended in the air, which I can grind along, before popping off the end with a spectacular twist and tailgrab before gracefully bumping back onto the snow while an avalanche chases me. In fact, I wouldn't want to do that in real life ever, it would be far to dangerous. The luxury of the computer game in that you have multiple lives, and that avalanche can kill me again and again and again and I could still get up and try it all over again without developing a twisted back from all that flipping about.

To sum up here, I just have to say that the computer game world is amazing, and should be visited by everyone on several occasions. Only in this medium can you get the chance to walk through an imaginary world and interact with it, or ever better, collect tokens so you can level up and get an even bigger sword (although not in snowboarding games, the sword really overbalances the character). The one thing that continually amazes me everyday is the power of imagination. There are so many amazing things to see and hear, and thanks to games, amazing new things you can do, like throwing yourself down a mountain with impunity.

I really can't wait for the new SSX game, I might have to freeze myself...

1 comment:

  1. A year on and I am still as obsessed by Computer Games. I have even upped it one level by watching tones and tones of game based video's on youtube. If that is your kind of thing then I highly recommend you check out JonTron and The Completionist :D