Archive | August, 2020

Crash Bandicoot: Nostalgia and the Rise of Mature Rated Games

29 Aug

            I was many who had played the series as I was growing up, and I was curious about the Nintendo Switch version, and I see many things that came packaged together with the deal. It was a big hit and sold a lot of copies, but the game I played when I was a child was not what I was expecting. The format still looks the same but it was a little disappointing. But this is more about nostalgia then a review of Crash Bandicoot, more of a personal retrospective of the past comes to mind.

The game proved a little jarring as I hadn’t played it in a long time. The game is beautifully reinterpreted to fit modern standards. Somewhere I heard that the game was a interpretation of a Vietnam Vets life and the mask that followed Crash was the idea of his ego protecting him. It was supposed to be a journey for a Vietnam Vets soul, but the game is what it is. A lovable bandicoot that is conservation friendly, but it seems like the days of Crash Bandicoot are like Mario, long ago lost to the systems of old. But this came from the Onion, so this is not to be taken seriously. More of a laugh to me. (https://gamerant.com/crash-bandicoot-ptsd-veteran-126/)

It’s not a bad idea to keep reinterpreting old products, as Resident Evil 2 remake proved a financial and critical success. What the game proved is that I had outgrown something I fully never understood. It’s a hard game for me to think about and take seriously when there are so many games that are ridiculous but also serious at the same time. Crash Bandicoot and the license seems to be a children’s game, through and through, the way Narnia is still a children’s book until Lord of the Rings arrives in a young person’s life. What the problem with most games of the past hold for me is that the style of jumping across bridges as if I was playing a modern reinterpretation of Frogger, is why I often play more modern games over the old. Part of it is that nostalgia to me can often cloud over improvements made today, but sometimes, improvements aren’t always that great. Final Fantasy seems to be a parody of itself since it’s fame with FF 7. Is all of this bad? No. Nostalgia helps us remember where we came from.  

Even when I come to appreciate the nostalgia associated with my childhood, it’s nostalgia that can keep gamers from moving forward in appreciating the new development in video games with Mature content. The claim that video games represent a culture of “sexism and mysogny” by people like Anita Sarkiessian (Snotkesian to many), it remains another mystery as to why she’s an icon in the first place. But Crash is a representative of my childhood that begins to fade away as I think about the years leading up to this article. Childhood is something to hold in the past, but not as an adult. It does make us remember what “games were like” but nostalgia is cancerous as the “member berries” in South Park that makes people remember the old days as the town of South Park eats them. 

What makes Crash Bandicoot familiar is that the will to be a new man when the world remembers something different. It’s memory that can make childhood seem blissful and charming. I remember the only reason people coming over my place was to play video games because there families were too cheap to buy them one. It’s learning that you were just a side show and no one appeased the adult that would grow up with games. Two games elevated the matureness of games palate, from my own experience: Gears of War and Call of Duty Modern Warfare. 

It was like learning you could be a spy jumping out of helicopters or an everyday hero who was fighting off aliens on a planet that was more alien than they were. Mature rated games could present a problem for the kids who wanted to play something more dark. What the gamers wanted at that time, in the mid 2000’s, was something that elevated the heart rate. 

With America undergoing the Iraq war, gamers like myself wanted to be in the thick of battle. Mature games offer what most children outgrow when they get hair on there chest. It’s like when you watch Goodfellas for the first time at 17, and it was another new experience. The presence of becoming a man through video games is like shooting guns, and you can be another person. Video games do not even account for most reasons violent crimes are committed. So, fuck off with that “video games are bad” bullshit. Video games are just as effective as literature or any other art form. 

Nostalgia rating: 10/10

The State of Art

17 Aug

The purpose of art is to alleviate the monsters who would come forth to demonize our waking nights. Art and should be an escape, and many other reasons to make, but the reality of Art being controlled by corporations, is the true nightmare we are living in. Maybe the Stephen King story about a hack writer who gets everything he wants only to be told what to do by corporations, is the meaning of horror in a capitalist society that only lends its ear to the horror they used to feel, as a starving artist? Game developers and comic book writers are now creeping closer to this point that Art is a futile place if it’s not serving a global brand. 

What makes the Last of Us 2 enjoyable to study the relationship between two societies that want to be a dominant force, while Ellie is pursuing her vengeance in the middle of a civil war, is what makes Last of Us 2 the highlight of 2020. While Art is meant as an escape, does this mean that Art is supposed to include everyone? Does every person need to be represented? Even Isaac in the Last of Us 2 is black, and he is as villainous as Abby is, as his goals are more simply laid out. Lev, is a Seraphite, who represents a religious cult turned into a violent uprising where they clash unwittingly with  As he wants an end to the conflict, he would erase the existence of the Seraphites in order to have peace. What makes the world far more complicated is that today, there is no escape. Science Fiction has always made no attempt to talk about identity or a social problem, and even the arrival of Cyberpunk 2077 in 2020, addresses many issues of class from three different perspectives, Nomad, street kid, and Corpo. 

What helps people become better is that we have a way to escape. There is nothing in Last of Us 2 that is meant to be an escape, but a study of violence and revenge that it’s meant to be more of a seventies film than a commercial game about escape. Lessons are always apart of fiction and it can help create a catharsis and help people change their mind. Art is meant to be defiant in the world of same speak mentality, and science fiction is the individual who knows he must find the corruption, and become better in a generic way that readers can relate and become better. Art defies the limits of a reader or players, and sometimes, a simple answer is not what makes a novel, game, or movie essential to what defies each generation of viewers, players, or readers. The general message of a story can’t be based on one single idea. Art is meant to coexist, and realize what is imperfect is the essence of life proving that Art can mean different things to different people. 

What is not objectively clear is misunderstood by a generation of people who misunderstand the themes of a single piece of Art. Whatever you call it, can be a piece of Art. The destruction of Art is not done by discourse, or arguing over its meanings. It’s done by misrepresentation. What is wrong with Art is not what a generation it was made for, but the legacy that can’t be put into play. The error of knowing exactly what a piece of Art is is not what makes Art grand. Being able to escape and also present its true meaning that can be understood over time. What is prepared for an audience, such as genre, aren’t limited when a new piece of art can take genre and put a new spin on it. There are no defined logistics when it comes to Art. There are no rules. There are no reasons to think that structure and lore when a new piece of Art is created. Sequels are a modern concept that helps sell a legacy, but if it’s only meant to make money, Art can be quantified and calculated. What has to work. What if it doesn’t work? 

Then it’s turned into a failure. If Art can fail, so can people too. If you want escape, you must write or make your own. Escape is purely subjective. Drugs can do that, but to a deadly effect (except pot). Art can help be a ruse to what is an escape, and can trick you into liking what “you don’t like.” Art can surprise and be bigger until you think that “escape is insincere.” Maybe playing, or even reading formulaic work can be fun, but learning how to raise your own expectations of what you read or see. Playing games can sometimes mean you are handed a choice to be what you want, like in CyberPunk 2077, but in books, you aren’t handed a choice. In all Art, you have a choice to follow a character into hell, and if you don’t, you aren’t better or worse. 

            If all you want is escape, it’s fine, and escape is good. I watch Anime to confront and face a darker self, but maybe people don’t want to see it. Enjoyment is good if you want something to help you cope with the horrifying reality you are unleashed in. The desperation of Art is to help people be better is a lie. Art shows you who you are, and without it, we would be left distraught and devastated without it. Whatever piece of Art you consume, it’s your choice to be led by the nose, in reading books, or follow your own path, like in Cyberpunk, or make your own art, as the artist you would become. 

Doom 3: A Masterpiece in Horror FPS

11 Aug

This has been a long time coming, because after Doom Eternal, and how it broke two perfectly new controllers, I had very little reason to return to the Doom franchise. Doom Eternal is probably easier to play on a mouse and keyboard, but it’s my disappointment in not being able to play the game repeatedly is what made me give up on playing Doom Eternal. After playing through the Bioshock trilogy, and finding the subtlety and perfection in the stories, I decided to give Doom 3 a try. There are so many things that people got wrong about Doom 3. It’s not just that it’s a reboot, but you can put the timeline of the Doom Marine in Doom 3, as another Blazkowitz living his best life. People will say “it’s too slow” and others argued, “Why can’t I hold the gun and the flashlight?” In the Nintendo Switch version (9.99 on the Nintendo E Shop, at the time, some sales might apply at certain times of the year) I played, this is added, as it was on Doom 3: BFG edition. I decided to give it a go, and see what I thought. 

            Doom 3 is genuinely creepy game that follows a melodic beat, and if you are into atmospheric shooters, this is probably the only game in the series that is trying to take itself seriously with survival horror roots, with very entertaining gun play. The Doom Marine is searching for Dr. Bretruger on the planet Mars as his lab is being shut down on the UAC base for nefarious practices. The lab assistants are on edge and they request for transfers. It’s the genuine creepiness that makes Doom 3 “the Resident Evil of first person shooters” and it makes sense. The dread and possible death around every corner, as it’s incredibly dark, as most of the time you have to choose, in the original release, to use a flashlight or a weapon, which would be an inconvenience on both the player and making the world more believable as a survival horror franchise. 

            The player and the Doom Marine are not afforded a choice to leave the mission, and you are there to stop the forces of hell from awakening and invading the world. The graphic may seem dated, but it adds to the sensation of choosing to fight or plight, which is not Doom’s forte as a game playing experience. 

            It’s a nice game to play after burning so many hours into Doom Eternal that it feels plotted but less grandiose and over the top than Doom Eternal (2020), and while it has divided many, it provides a soft brilliance of dark textures to each dimly lit room where the gameplay is as immersive and foundational to where plotted video games in 2004, used to be. Not surprising that it divided fans, I was genuinely creeped out by the game, and now, rather embracing abyss, chose to give the game another chance. 

            The beauty of taking a chance on DOOM 3 is that the movie seems to follow in its footsteps, and the direction it gives seems more inventive now than it was. The only drawback of DOOM 3 is the jumping mechanism, which is odd and often frustrating. 

            Not since Doom Eternal had Id decided to add cutscenes, but now since Doom Eternal has embraced the cutscene aspect of story telling in Doom 3, and it’s worthy to be apart of the Doom franchise. What makes Doom 3 intense and frightening is the conviction of the atmosphere that stands the test of time, and while it may seem outdated, the charm and the real scares are fun to play.

            The negatives are simple. The jumping is atrocious. This was before more advanced climbing mechanisms were put into games, but it’s a sore spot in the game. The automatic save checkpoints are ill timed and they ruin the pacing of the gameplay, which is to make the player keep going, but the disappointment is learning after you die, to nearly go back and cover half of the map again. This is maybe deliberate, but maybe Id was trying to find its footing in the pacing of the story’s progression.

            Opinion: The Doom movies are better than you might realize after you play Doom 3, and it follows a logic that they couldn’t replace. If a movie version can be done, it would have to be like Hardcore Henry. It would be maddening, but we are a long way from getting a great Doom movie. 

            Pros: graphics still hold up, atmosphere, charm, satisfying gun play, and creepy story.

            Cons: The jumping mechanic is awful. The loading screen at some points are downright insulting to the player, but it’s probably done for a reason.

            Final Opinion: 10/10

The problem of historical or fictional figures and Critical Bias

2 Aug

As a statement, it should be easy to translate a work of nonfiction into a translatable film or series. Wrong. There are three works that have always eluded the entertainment industry. Don Quixote (and Salman Rushdies Quichotte was bad enough not to even own), and two historical figures people, Alexander the Great and Napoleon. All have been tried to put into film, but have never been successful. Terry Gilliam’s “The Man who killed Don Quixote” was a spectacular failure that had many production problems and a lack of visuals that could help the movie become what it was. Even Orson Welles failed in his attempt to make Don Quixote into a feasible film. Filmmakers have always wanted to film the unfilmable book or person’s life. Stanley Kubrick was obsessed with Napoleon, and like all ambitious men, didn’t know how ot make it work. Probably with the failure of Barry Lyndon (now a cult classic) didn’t help his chances at making Napoleon. 

Filmmakers have to use real people and probably as a video game, these men could have seen there vision come to life. Amibtious men, who are limited in there time, are never alone. What makes ambitious men pursue these dreams is that they want such history to become real on screen. Don Quixote, for Terry Gilliam is no exception. To put the epic into a screen adaptation is what made films harder in there lifetime. Unless they are Christopher Nolan where he gets a golden pass every time he makes a film, but does the business reflect the nature of men who rarely see what a vision is before they put it on screen? 

With Alexander the Great, Oliver Stone had ambition, but it was through a wrecked first cut that was destroyed in customs, that proved harder for the ambition to be seen. With such a problematic filming, it only made the film more insane than it was. In Entertainment Weekly they even covered it (back when ET magazine was a thing and I was less jaded by the world.) I don’t knock the ambition to try and create. That’s not what I was put on earth for. If someone has something to say, negative or positive, that never really matters. Yes, it does piss everyone off who tries and fails, but the weird quality of having people harass you for your failures is only a 2000’s concept that keeps rising since Social Media’s birth. 

What people don’t understand the disappointment is when someone fails the press is extremely vicious and they can end your careers. Now people can do it on there own, as if they take such pride in destroying people’s opinions and there thoughts. Bullying people for the sake of Social Justice. What films represent is the antimatter and the novels are the subsurface dwarf star that moves through the world, and video games are there to pass the time, or as a treat for a hard days work accomplished. To destroy art takes someone with the ability to hate themselves and the world that birthed them. It’s a millennial concept, and must end. The reality of men who do try should not be punished for what they want to do in life. 

Criticism has become a dangerous game of chicken whether it means you risk your entire career and someone can misread or see a film’s intentions. Critics are there to be paid to give advice on there opinion, not facts. But the reality is far better films don’t get the praise they actually deserve. What the advantage of a world where “everyone gets to say what they want” is that people can think they are saying the right thing when they are lost in there own opinions. Even I know my opinions don’t mean a fucking thing, but I do value them, and it’s my right. Not everyone has to care. 

What makes the disadvantage of a film like Alexander by Oliver Stone is not the intention of making a bad film, but the destruction of the original print, which can destroy much of a narrative already filmed. A broken film doesn’t have to be edited down in order to be bad, but if it’s lost, then the filmmaker has no field of advantage to better understand where to edit. There is nothing to cut out, and nothing to film. What the deception of a bad film is when people don’t see the same thing. What makes the failure of Alexander by Oliver Stone is that he did it and failed (to the public and critics) while Stanley Kubrick failed before he even tried to do it. A missed opportunity is worse in hindsight, but still a story is better when it’s put to print in a book or film. A missed opportunity, for all ambitious men, is a lifetime of regret.