After he viciously slaughtered his way through the mafia family run by his Uncle Paulie, Jackie Estacado had vowed to never again use The Darkness. The demon had given him great strength, but had manipulated and twisted the young man. When we meet him again as he walks into a family run restaurant at the beginning of the Darkness 2, we see that he has prospered, the family is strong, its members loyal- and then they are attacked by an unknown group who want The Darkness for themselves. The scene acts as a well-designed introduction to the world and mechanics- Jackie’s leg is destroyed and he’s pulled to safety, nothing but a pistol to fend off his attackers. Where once he was an invincible god, he’s broken and dying, now just a man. It’s been two years since he’s given in to the Darkness.
For as much as they’re capable of expressing complex concepts in ways no other medium can, videogames as a form have a long history of telling their narratives using techniques and styles found in traditional film. A rough portmanteau of ‘machine’ and ‘cinema’, machinima is a branch of film built in virtual worlds, often consisting of digital art and engine assets, greatly reducing cost in two mediums that are often defined by it. With close ties to animated works, machinima started with humble beginnings but deserves to be critiqued among the standards of the medium.
When it was first released several years ago, I gave Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden a wistful, sideways glance but never played it. I think, as I have been strangely fixated on it lately, that the time has finally come to download the free copy.
As a fan-made sequel to 1994’s very real Barkley: Shut Up and Jam for the SNES, this turn-based RPG is quite a departure from its humble basketball game beginnings.
I hate boomerangs. I hate boomerangs with all my soul. They’re incredibly stupid. You throw a boomerang, it comes back. Great. Thing is, they’re not just for fun and games. There have been historical instances where they were used as weapons and they’ve definitely been used for that purpose in videogames.
Originally released on Japanese MSX2 and PC-8801 machines in 1988, Snatcher is a cyberpunk adventure, dripping in dark themes and dystopic style. In many ways, Snatcher is a classic Adventure game- but this one was designed and directed by Hideo Kojima, his second after Metal Gear. Continue reading “Snatcher: A Cyberpunk Adventure”
Hydrophobia: Prophecy is the third downloadable version of the original subtitle-free ‘Hydrophobia’ by Dark Energy Digital. Incorporating a water physics mechanic as a pillar of its design, the game finds Security Engineer Kate Olsen on The Queen of the World, a humanity saving cruise-ship colony as it’s besieged by the Malthusian’s, a terrorist group set on saving the Earth from overpopulation through the mass genocide of its citizens. With gameplay heavily inspired by Naughty Dog’s Uncharted franchise, Kate climbs, swims and shoots her way to save the ship and humanity.
UPDATE: Included the full Spike VGA trailer that had been edited for time, now with Japanese-language subtitles.
At E3 2009, Hideo Kojima stepped on stage at the Microsoft press conference to announce the latest installment in his legendary Metal Gear Solid series.
In the second part of our thematic analysis of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, we took an exhaustive look at the structural subtext of Metal Gear Solid 2: Son’s of Liberty. Starting in that game, a thematic split began to form in the narrative. The story was about the importance of ideas and information to the growth of a single individual but also looked at the interaction of many individuals to form a society. Metal Gear Solid 3 carries it further. Continue reading “Metal Gear Solid Analysis: The Identity Trilogy Part 3: Snake Eater”
Sons of Liberty
The second installment in the Metal Gear Solid saga is about the dissemination of information, how important ideas are to the beliefs of an individual, and how they get passed within a society.
For those who never played The Twin Snakes, its story is recounted on disc as the fictional novel ‘In The Darkness of Shadow Moses: The Unofficial Truth’ written by that games weapons specialist, Nastasha Romanenko. The book fulfills several important roles all at once: it provides players of the first game with new story bits that happened on the opposite end of the Codec that Snake wasn’t privy to and exists in the Metal Gear universe as the tell-all that made Solid Snake and his crop of dark mulleted hair a hero the world over for preventing nuclear war.
MEME, GENE, SCENE
As an aesthetic work, the Metal Gear Solid saga examines what it means to be human. The spine of the series revolves around the full development of an individual’s identity through the foundations of their biological makeup, the shaping of culture and art upon them, and the importance of the experiences that individual collects throughout their life. But just as important are how those facets forms an individual’s beliefs and directs policies within their country and relative to countries across the globe.