Anthrax and Gary Coleman? Thank you, sir, may I have another?
Anthrax and Gary Coleman? Thank you, sir, may I have another?
|I love Postal 2||Page:: ( 2 / 4 )|
The same thing’s bound to happen with gaming. It’s probably already taking place, if you note how adult-oriented games have gotten more play with regular media outlets the past few years. The runaway popularity of Grand Theft Auto 3 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City got things rolling on that front, their monstrous sales numbers putting all games front and center whether the powers-that-be at Entertainment Weekly liked it or not. They couldn’t just ignore this stuff any longer. If not for Columbine and the cottage industry of halfwit psychoanalysts (what are goth kids really all about? does playing Quake train you to shoot a rifle? how much can I charge to present my thinly-researched suppositions to the Denver Rotary Club?) that it created, the level of acceptance would likely be even greater at this point. As it is, though, we’re doing pretty damn good when you consider that Vice City has sold around ten million copies in under a year, and that many of those copies have passed across the sales counters at Wal-Mart, once the self-assigned watchdog over naughty John Mellencamp album covers.
Still, we could be doing better. Which is why I love those nutbar news stories about EverQuest immolations and have a weak spot for the likes of Postal 2. Although I haven’t played the game yet, and in all honestly probably never will unless someone at Running With Scissors sees this column and sends me a freebie, I’m overjoyed that a developer is trying to hurry things along with a game so idiotic and offensive. The sooner we get through all of this garbage, get over the childish need to offend the masses, the sooner we get to the good stuff. When the masses are no longer viewed as the enemy by a sizable portion of the game development world, we’ll get games that are more mature, more adult. Gross-em-out shock-value stuff won’t completely vanish, but it will almost certainly become a less important and less visible part of the industry.
So I say bring on all the bloody, racist, chauvinist, insensitive crap. Right now. I want to get to the good stuff before I’m too old to properly enjoy it, and time’s-a-wasting. Let’s get Postal 3 rushed into production, with more Apu-like stereotypes running convenience stores and dogs with AIDS. And add more Gary Coleman! All upcoming real-time strategy games should incorporate backhanded slaps at non-white races, similar to the way Command & Conquer: Generals gave a Middle Eastern terrorist group suicide bombers and Anthrax-tipped shells. Shooters must all be forced to use the GHOUL 2 rendering system from Solider of Fortune 2, so we can delight in exploding entrails. Screw that quaint old shower of blood and guts—give us more intestines on the sidewalk! And we need more sex in roleplaying games. Don’t just put the bimbos on the box covers, get hot naked chicks in the games and let us have sex with them in creative ways humiliating to women!
Okay, so I’m not serious here (though I did get sort of worked up on that last one). But I do think that this childish need to shock mommy and daddy is a real problem that’s holding back the games industry from wider acceptance and greater maturity in content. And that once we get to the point where we can no longer shock the old folks—can that point be very far away? we’ve already got Gary Coleman wielding an M-16 and a sociopath beheading rollerskaters with a sword in Vice City—games can finally grow up. Gaming can never really leave home, though it can develop into an older teenager who’s passed the sullen I-hate-you-mom stage and moved on to mature acting out like breaking curfew and smoking the odd doobie.
SIDEBAR: GHOUL 2 is… so… COUL!
|Parting Shot||Page:: ( 3 / 4 )|
So, E3 is an overblown, overhyped explosion of cash and testosterone. What’s on tap for next week, Tom? A stop-the-presses exposé on the cuteness of puppies? The stunning revelation that Ron Howard movies are predictable? Relationship advice telling us that we won’t get anywhere until we pretend to listen when she starts talking about her feelings?
All due respect to your turns of phrase and fantastic scene setting—even though the ‘Konami man-purse’ line made me think of the Accolade man-purse that you were toting around South Hall at E3 1999—this isn’t exactly a new topic. It’s been in vogue to hate E3 since it moved to LA once and for all five years ago, partly because that’s when it first got really loud and partly because that’s when people started to understand that Randy Newman’s ‘I Love LA’ was actually ironicspeak for ‘I Hate LA.’ Does anyone like La-La Land anymore? Even Canucks like myself, still so stuck in Hicksville that we refer to Los Angeles with stupid nicknames that went out of fashion at the same time as Nehru jackets, are savvy enough to get this now, seeing as they’ve stopped playing the song whenever the LA Kings score in hockey games.
Anyhow, saying that you hate E3 these days is equivalent to saying you hate Hitler or secondhand smoke. Even people who have never been to one of these glam-rock whorefests seem jaded about the whole thing now. Maybe that’s because the show’s more console-centric now and I run with a PC crowd, although it’s hard to find any evidence of enthusiasm online or off anywhere. I ditched the show this year, begging off for good (I was just starting to plan a wedding) and not-so-good (I needed a couple weeks of crosstraining to handle all the hiking between the LA Convention Center exhibition halls) reasons. So did a lot of other people you and I know, both in and out of the business. I’m acquainted with just one person who got revved up about E3 this year, and he’s both an EB manager and one of those perky guys who gets up every morning with a song in his heart. Uh, not that I’d know anything about the latter first-hand—as much as I follow the trends, I’m having a traditional marriage this fall, not one of those Queer-As-Folk-approved Canadian specials that are all the rage up here right now.
But I do agree that changes have to be made with E3. Though I’d shift the blame away from the show and onto the gaming media outlets that build it into this all-kicking, all-dancing revue where Everything Will Be Unveiled. The crime isn’t the show’s excess, it’s that game websites and mags have turned nothing announcements like the polygon count in Half-Life 2 into the equivalent of revealing the Third Secret of Fatima. I wish the enthusiast game press could be more even-handed with how E3 is presented to readers. It’d be nice if someone would be up front about how the show isn’t meant for media, and that gamers shouldn’t expect to get any real information from the floor. Yet year after year, we get sites trumpeting live updates, as if the Convention Center were some kind of digital stock exchange. I’d gladly like to say sayonara to all of that, although I wouldn’t mind keeping the booth babes, the endless procession of B-list celebrities (not that I want to bring up Gary Coleman again, but hasn’t he been at the last three shows, representing three different companies and products?), and the wonderful sense of big, dumb extravaganza. Then again, Tom, you just spent three days wrapped up in that cocoon of stupidity and I’ve been away for a couple of years. So perhaps I just need a refresher course in how annoying the damn thing can be.
SIDEBAR: But I love LA, Brett! I really do! :(
|Shot of the Week||Page:: ( 4 / 4 )|
Perhaps it’s not the most wildly exciting upcoming release, but World War II: Frontline Command is a pretty entertaining RTS that incorporates a bunch of much-needed new features. I’ve been playing the Bitmap Brothers (best known for Steel Soldiers and Z) game a fair bit the past week for a magazine review due right around the same time as the game hits stores on June 24. As a sneak peek, here are a few screen shots.
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Sig heil, mein Brett! Er.. .wait. No, Brett’s espousing libertarian values. Let the moral and immoral fight it out, I always say! The more shocking our games, the more old fogies will drop dead prematurely and save us some health care taxes. What about you? I bet you don’t want to see Grandpa die from Postal 2. Or do you? Sound Off! and give grandpappy a good farewell speech!
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