Of all entertainment forms, videogames have an unparalleled ability to simulate real activities, simplifying them into versions that are often more accessible to players than the original. Yu Suzuki successfully defined many of videogame’s most important genres by translating action sports into personal games. Suzuki realized that the key to making a game personal is in how physical, how true to real life, you can make it for the player. Over decades of legendary titles, Suzuki grew Sega’s arcade reputation by giving players tactile game experiences in three-dimensional worlds to become one of the medium’s most influential designers.
Depending on whether you chose to play as X or Zero, the fight against Web Spider requires a different set of tactics. With his X-Buster, X can dash around the small jungle room until Spider descends from the canopy, wall jumping over the webs he shoots and firing from afar. With his Z-Sabre, Zero is forced to stay close to the bug on his line, dashing away from the web only to careen up and around over it in a circle and strike before your foe scrambles back to safety. The fight gets harder when the Repliforce member lays an electric grid and starts scurrying about the scene. Because of their different playstyles, the remaining seven robot masters will present X and Zero with a similarly different dynamic that test what the two machines, and the player at their controls, are made of.
Contra: Hard Corps opens to a robotic army assaulting a sprawling future city only to be decimated by a charging tank that ejects your character guns blazing into an active warzone. Not only does this succinctly indicate where the game’s tonal priorities are, it’s also the designers giving you some honest advice: charge forward until every enemy is demolished. Hard Corps distilled Alien War’s brazen creativity down to its run and gun foundation, creating a single minded epic that is equal parts twitch shooter and blockbuster action flick.
Policenauts was the perfect game to introduce the world to Hideo Kojima’s visual style and keen eye for editing a trailer. Unlike other games at the time, every screenshot from the 1994 ‘Interactive Movie’ could have been ripped from an anime, this one the tale of a man lost in space for the first twenty five years of humanity’s move into off-world colonies. It’s Lethal Weapon in the Gundam timeline with an Aliens setup, starring a blue-haired Mel Gibson. The trailer claims Policenauts is ‘The Next Generation of Snatcher’.
Graffiti is art. However, graffiti as an act of vandalism is a crime.
Jet Set Radio is very nearly a complete metaphor for freedom. Smilebit accomplished the task by making its game small in scope and using every element of its design to construct a theme: it has a large, overbearing enemy in its fascist Tokyo-to and a graffiti mechanic that is an action-oriented, easily understood core concept that is itself a means to fight against the oppression. It gives characters the tools to move deftly through the world to leave their mark. With the guidance of free-wheelin’ DJ Professor K and his pirate broadcast, the youth are rebelling in the heart of Tokyo-to and the pressure is boiling up from the underground.
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”