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Videogames are fantastic tools to explore narratives in a truly original and whimsical way, but who gives one self-contained shit? Character development and narrative structure is for girls’ daddy-o. It’s all about how many pixels you can cram into the smallest spot like rubbish through your neighbour’s letter box. Or filling the screen with non-stop action like if Michael Bay was coked out of his God damn mind. Surely, I hear you shriek. The purpose of games is to either create more realistic surroundings until we cannot differentiate real-life from the videogame biosphere? Or just be pure nonsensical enjoyment? Well, if that’s the case and videogame’s ultimate conclusion, I’m going to fill my pockets with rocks and quietly stroll into the deep unsympathetic sea.
Videogames are fantastic tools to explore narratives in a truly original and whimsical way, but who gives one self-contained shit?
I recognise without graphics, videogames would be you gawking at a dull black reflection of yourself holding a controller like a prick. And, I can’t deny that with every strive in graphically fidelity, it is impressive to see how far – even in my twenty something years – the industry has come. However, it seems when videogames became HD in the last console generation, gamers seemed to care more about the novelty of increased pixel-ratio rather than the gameplay or the characters themselves.
Take Crysis 2 as an example of people firing their huge loads over a title that was more agonising than an axle grinder to the gut. Crysis 2 isn’t so much a game as it is a tech-demo for a game engine we all know produces remarkable graphics. Those few who were stunned to discover that Crysis 2 had extraordinary visuals are probably the same people who are astonished to find out that Peter Parker is indeed: Spiderman. When you wash away the visuals with the logic sponge, you find a fragile skinny plot, competent controls and dialogue straight out of a mephitic bin.
I look back at my childhood games such as Gunstar Heroes, Majora’s Mask and Timespitters 2; to name a few. I find I can enjoy the experience with the same level of passion and satisfaction I had when first playing them. And, before you say it no. I’m not blinded by the piercing light of nostalgia and understand that – for example – Majora’s Mask does look pretty dreadful at times, but that’s my point. I still relish the story, characters and gameplay far more than any stridently beautiful Crysis or Final Fantasy title.
Despite what I’ve said, there are many developers that create plotlines that carry actual weight. In Shadow of the Colossus – as basically every gamer knows because SOTC is unfortunately classed as an ‘arty’ game and is slightly more popular than air. But, if you’ve been too busy out in the real-world living your real-life, let me explain. The objective of Shadow of the Colossus is to save the love of your life’s soul by slaughtering wondering colossi. Sounds simple right? Well you’re fucking wrong Simone. The colossi aren’t hurting you, or impacting your life in any way. They’re just knockin’ about a vast empty wasteland rockin’ out to Thunder in Your Heart. Until you turn up with your fucking sword and start climbing up their backs like some frustrating tick. Of course they’re going to be aggressive towards the thing that’s repeatedly stabbing them in the bloody eyeball.
After you butcher one of these living mountains, you absorb their ‘soul’, or ‘agony’ or some fucking thing. And, the act of killing something supernatural begins to chip-away at your humanity. Bam!! That’s a fucking story. However, if you think it’s far too gay for your liking, go back to playing Call of Duty or Halo and gawp at the sweaty tough men, rolling round in the filthy mud with their massive throbbing weapons. That’s soooooooooooooooooo not gay.