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Tycho / on Wed, Sep 7 2005 at 12:00 am

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The Problem Within The Problem

I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but PAX tensions caused Gabe to chew right through the cap of his root canal in the night.  He didn’t know that’s what it was, I think he just knew that there was torture in ample supply.  That’s being resolved this week, but I thought you might enjoy the conversation we had about it.

The new OXM has again dropped one of those coverdiscs that makes you think it may be time to subscribe.  Seven fully playable demos easily justify the price of a single issue.  Obviously, the Burnout Revenge demo is polished to a shocking extent -  but this month in particular had a couple things I might not have tried otherwise. 

I wish that weren’t true, but it is.  I read an article in (I believe) Game Informer about Indigo Prophecy, which is called something like Fahrenheit in Europe.  The game the article described sounded intriguing to me, but also perhaps too ambitious and maybe even impossible.  I wouldn’t have known that it looks much better than the screenshots give it credit for, or that evocative animation and camerawork might meet in a bizarre, original game concept. 

Most recently, I was invested almost spiritually in the idea that Advent Rising would emerge from a chrysalis of light a nearly perfect being.  It did not.  It emerged from a public restroom with vomit on its shirt, a tuft of graying chest hair erupting from the neckline. In a way, you could say that I was scared to love again.

That’s the trouble.  I play a lot of mods and independent games, which run pricewise from free to about half what you’d pay at EB.  I can be counted on to enjoy and perhaps even praise them so long as they are not absolute train wrecks.  But when it comes to the full-price retail game, I’ve been trained by experience to rely upon franchises.  I’m pretty open minded about the games I play, but the set that equals “games I play” is heavily constrained by this strange, silent edict.  I won’t take all the blame for this rigidity - there is a column of mediocre shit swelling and coursing through retail.  But you’ll forgive me, I hope, for being apprehensive about an adventure game where you play a murderer and the investigators of the murder set against the backdrop of a Mayan prophecy. 

Actually, when I type it out, it sounds pretty cool.

My concern, though, had more to do with execution.  The demo does something almost immediately that subverts the usual experience, and if it’s all the same to you I’d rather not spoil any of it.  The demo is available on OXM, or downloadable for free from the site.  Developer Quantic Dream calls the game a manifestation of their Interactive Cinema philosophy, which posits (among other things) that anyone who likes a good story should be able to play videogames.

It’s already out, as I understand it, “across the pond” - I just read an encouraging review of it over at Eurogamer.  I went down today and preordered it at lunch - they’re saying the twentieth, which our people know to mean the twenty-first.  Ensconced by monitors, with an awareness of gaming news that borders on omniscience, I can’t express how exciting it has been to stumble upon a genuine surprise.

(CW)TB out.

the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs

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