"The SA-X and the other X imitations are series-revival anxiety made flesh, the specter of Super Metroid following the player around. It’s a coy decision, forcing players to wade through and run from flimsy forms of Metroid nostalgia. It allows the developers to have it both ways, capitalizing on the strong memories attached to the series while also suggesting that simply evoking nostalgia would have been transparent and dull. A game that simply tried to copy Super Metroid’s successes after so much time had passed would have been as obvious an impostor as SA-X. By populating the game with pale imitations and simulated memories, the developers force the player to feel the weight of Samus’s legacy bear down on them.”
Showing 283 posts tagged gameological
This week’s Gameological Q&A comes from reader Christopher Arp:
I was recently bragging to some friends that I had never been truly frightened by a game. Sure, any game can make me jump with a loud noise or sudden visual. But deep, creeping fear? That’s less likely. Not even Dead Space—a game that creates suspense more than anything approaching terror—gets to me. But then I remembered an ancient, excellent PC game called The Dark Eye. Eyeless clay-looking characters? Playable Edgar Allan Poe stories? Bone-chilling voice acting? My bowels, they tremble at the memory. What games, if any, have terrified you?
Our writers weighed in, and now we want to hear from you.
"In the 2000 game, the biggest threats are oppression and harassment from authority figures. In the 2008 game, bullying and toxicity threaten to destroy the culture from within. The kids of World are placed in a direct competition that can only have one winner, forcing them to view each other as threats. They also have to contend with the Reapers, older teenage enforcers who target players for sport. In World’s vision of Shibuya, kids their own age are a threat, and the older kids are a source of fear and persecution instead of guidance and support.”
"The pyrotechnic stress of spy-craft blooms when secret agents act on the fly, but there needs to be a plan in the first place before it can go off the rails. Something has to go right before it can go wrong. CounterSpy’s got the moves, the look, and the sound, but it doesn’t have the smarts, the tension, or the carefully crafted plans to live up to spydom’s best. Going in without a plan is built into the game’s guts, and it’s poorer for it.”
"That’s why I was never moved by Aerith’s death. Yes, she, like Shadow, is a member of my party, but her death isn’t my fault. It happens in a maudlin cut scene, out of my control. Far from shedding tears, I was instead annoyed at how presumptuous the Final Fantasy VII designers were to give me responsibility for a character and then abruptly take it away for the sake of a tearjerker moment.”
"But where the Doctor Who games have players pushing blocks and jumping around like Mario in order to advance, Where In Time actually requires them to think like the Doctor. A functioning knowledge of history is necessary for success, forcing players to develop the sort of data retention that has saved the Doctor time in and time out.”
"The ‘retro’ style has been distorted, intensified, exaggerated. It’s a delirious and strange techno fever dream awash in neon light. It could be called the contemporization of an obsolete aesthetic—an effort to make the old-fashioned once again new and re-invigorated, gloriously chopped and screwed. But it’s also a pointed corruption of the past, of players’ pasts. Hotline Miami is like the games you’ve played, but nothing is quite as you remember it. It’s like a dream of a game only half recalled. Everything seems hazy and indistinct.”
“Hohokum focuses instead on encouraging players to do what the title suggests, and just play. It’s no coincidence that the opening section of the game demands players to spin around in circles and bump into things. This return to a more childlike fun, one that values simplicity and testing boundaries, sits at the very core of Hohokum.”
"The Bristol Renaissance Faire is filled with shops, taverns, and rides, and it’s populated by a mix of costume-clad staff and customers who take on medieval roles ranging from knights and noble ladies to sorcerers and monsters. It’s a place to spend a day of watching shows and eating giant turkey legs, but for the past seven years, it’s also been the setting of a massive role-playing game."
"Once the game gets past some colorful menu screens with chubby cartoon versions of Sheen, Berenger, and what looks like an anthropomorphized version of the poster logo, what’s left is a spare baseball simulation. Options include paying against the computer, a friend, or watching the computer play itself. There are indeed 14 teams, but it’s impossible to distinguish between them since the menu doesn’t give them names, just letters. The team portraits at the bottom don’t even change once a team is selected."