"I am a TREASURE HUNTER, not a thief!"

Do I really have to make this guy drink coffee before I can advance to the next scene?
I spent a good deal of Saturday exploring Quantic Dream's Indigo Prophecy, and it's an interesting take on adventure gaming, to say the least. The story is decidely gruesome and gritty in ways seen in television and movies on a regular basis, but rarely effectively executed in games. That said, the "acting" is still only so-so..it's just that you have to applaud QD for even trying. On the one hand, you can't help but laugh that cheesy horror-movie acting is still more compelling than IP's clunky in-game cinema. On the other, well, isn't it cool to see an adult story told in a video game without it coming off like a bad saturday morning cartoon?

I mean, you have to love to see a game go after these themes, because even if you're not a fan of the whole "point and click" genre, these types of emotional experiences don't just need to be in games, they belong in gaming. Think about it. Even from the early days of gaming, we have spent most of our interactive hours wielding weapons, making life-and-death decisions and chasing resources. Carry my woman away, will you? Well, then I'll kick every ass between here and you to get her back. Attack my country? Well, I'll invade yours and kill every last living thing until you're defeated.

We've always glossed over some nutty stuff, so why not allow games to grow up along-side the gamers who have grown up with them?

The point is, there's a lot of cool stories out there, but we as an industry rarely tell them. Sure, we let other people tell them and then we go pay those people for the rights to a game that is half-designed by license-holders who don't understand the medium. Why not let them start at home? We have so many creative people in our business, but they rarely have a voice.

Can anyone tell which Potter game this is? Does anyone even care?
The funny thing is, recent years have seen a rise in Hollywood's willingness to find one that speaks to our generation. The run on comic book movies, the rise of the sci-fi channel, NBC bringing Heroes to primetime, the success of Lost....it sure seems like tinsel town got the memo: gamers are getting older, they have money, and that the powers that be clearly believe that these gamers will spend money to be entertained by nerdy shit, right?

Right.

So when you look at the gap between games and more mature mediums when it comes to story-telling, its seems like a natural conclusion that our medium can make massive strides in the stories they tell. Sure, we may not make leaps in visual detail, animation or gameplay in this generation, but we could easily start to develop our abilities as story-tellers, even if all we manage to do is start telling new ones. It's a tough economy out there and game companies have been on risk-averse roller-coaster since EA's rise to a well-marketed mediocrity machine in the PS2 generation. They proved that, while reinventing the wheel is expensive, adding some spit and polish and putting it in a pretty package will get the mainstream consumers to spend in a big way.

In that sense, story is an interesting avenue to explore at this point. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of overt alien invasions and planet-saving, princess rescuing, war-winning repeats. I have collected enough coins, pulled off enough head shots, and killed enough over-sized vermon. I'm tired of games about lone military operatives, unlikely smalltown heroes and reluctant royal rockstars. I'd love to see more detective stories. More discoveries of amazing things in normal worlds. Or maybe being the normal thing in an amazing world. Fuck. Something...anything
Here's to hoping...
other than a string of conventions.

All that said, I'm still enjoying Indigo thus far but, between the control issues, gameplay tuning in some of the minigames, and a general lack of clear direction in many spots, it ends up feeling like more of an experiment than an experience. I hope Heavy Rain fixes some of this game's issues. I hope it tells a compelling story at a high level of visual quality and makes its mark. Maybe that will be enough to make people rethink some things. Maybe it influence the right folks, push the right buttons...open up the pipes a bit for ideas that are juuuust a bit left of center. Lord knows I'd rather be playing the next Firefly or Heroes than watching them.
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"Rise from your grave!"

So I've decided to start feeding the bomb. Jeff and Co. are really doing something special here, and it seems like as good a venue as any to get back back into the swing of things, so to speak. Also, one time, I saw Gerstmann catch on fire at a house party...I kinda feel like blazin' ninja drunkenness of that caliber commands some respect.

Anyways, I've been posted mad links on Facebook these days related to random internet bullshit, and plan to shift some of the game-related content this way. We'll see how that goes. The current plan is to take a little time each day to ramble about goings on in the industry, games I'm playing, articles that make me wish things or people or operating a motor vehicle in the state of Massachesetts didn't suck as badly as they often  do.. There's at least 5-6 stories every day that crack me the fuck up, so I might as well share the joy (or the pain, depending on how you ingest my particular brand of editorial).

Right.

Feel free to add me as a friend, talk smack about my momma, or call me a white privileged zombie...you know, whatever refills your meter.

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