Many video games are escapist in one sense or another and have to deal with the maximum agency afforded to the player, and in most cases we're talking about agency in the idealized, physical sense. If the protagonist is not physically attractive or physically "able" (and this is to say nothing of the marginalizing of the physically handicapped or disabled in video games... perhaps a topic for future discussion), at the very least he/she is youthful... iconic of the kind of template for change and dynamic narrative-based character shifts we all look for in the classic bildungsroman that forms the basis for games ranging from Braid to Fable 2.
Over the past week or so, it seems like the issue of race in gaming has been picking up steam. I've come across two great posts on the subject, one from Paul Tassi and a sardonic take over at the Play Like a Girl blog. More pertinently, an illuminating study from the USC Annenberg School of Communication revealed that minorities—and particularly Latinos—are woefully underrepresented among protagonists and other characters in leading video games.
Borderlands is the game everyone's talking about at the moment, although I have to admit that I'm a little bit (well, okay, a lot) puzzled at all of the positive buzz is getting. It's currently rocking an 84 at MetaCritic and no one has a bad word to say about it on Twitter. However, my experience was basically the opposite… it started poorly and failed to come together for me, leaving me bored and disaffected.
You'll have to forgive me for the unimaginative headline on this post. There are only so many inventive ways to title a story on zombies and I think after covering the undead for over a decade I've run out of cool ones.
Konami's Zombie Apocalypse is now available for download and was the most downloaded title on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. You'd think that would be good enough for Konami, but it's not. They think there are still some of you out there who haven't splurged for a copy of the game and indulged in its Smash TV-esque wholesale zombie genocide. To entice you to pay your money and take the ride, they've released a new trailer for the game–one that basks in the gory glory of the experience of taking out hordes of flesh eating monsters in satisfyingly violent ways.
Can you survive the zombie apocalypse for 55 days, spread over seven different environments? It'll cost you $9.99 or 800 Microsoft Points to find out.
The world of video games is no stranger to inconceivable, bizarre, and at times downright irresponsible marketing. Most recently, gamers were shocked by Electronic Arts' reprehensible "Sin to Win" promotion for Dante's Inferno. Now, Namco has decided to unleash a series of odd and, quite frankly, dangerous "viral" advertisements for the upcoming game Tekken 6.
One last note: I'm almost done with my start-over-from-scratch replay of Demon's Souls, and after taking a very close look at the Tendency system, I'm basically convinced that it's pretty much the only false step that From made.
The first time I played the game, I went through it without consulting any FAQs and just immersed myself in the overall experience. It was extremely rewarding and I'm glad I did it that way, but I was a little put off after credits rolled to find that I had missed several things because my gameplay style kept me "in the middle".
As would be expected of any comic-to-game adaptation, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 does not entirely replicate the storyline, but it does a surprisingly good job of recreating the key allegorical events: the attack on New York City, the atom bomb-like explosion in Stamford, and the escalating violence between the two factions of superheroes. While the game changes much of the end of the storyline, opting to have the two sides unite against a sentient virus and removing Captain America's poignant surrender and subsequent death-by-assassination, it still conveys important truths about what it means to surrender freedom for the sake of fear, and why even the seemingly powerful are so eager to give up their rights.
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