If you’re anything like me, the ending of Bioshock: Infinite will have made you dump your controller, stare agape at the screen and yell “no!” in disbelief over and over. It is a conclusion which shakes up the game experience like no other. It is cathartic, unsettling, and joyous. It’s a clear example of the developers following the storytelling maxim of beginning at the end and working backwards while serving as an enormous impetus for players to immediately restart the game and piece together the clues that fit into this monumental narrative. I, for one, started a new game right away.
It’s interesting to consider how for many of us, games have been growing up with us. Atlus’ Catherine serves as a prime example of this phenomenon. Having been developed by a team who grew and matured as games themselves did the same, it simultaneously reaches much of the gaming audience as they confront the very issues addressed within it.
I’ve got to be honest, I’m a sucker for westerns. The lone cowboy and his trusty horse roaming the open and untamed land is admittedly romantic, but I also find it incredibly thrilling. A time filled with endless possibilities and complex stories that go beyond the good guy/bad guy dynamic. After all, the good guys don’t always have to wear white.
Few games in this era have had the cojones to challenge gamers in the manner that the Souls series has dared to, and fewer still have allowed players to have so much freedom to build and define a narrative. Who is your character? You decide. What are his/her goals? That’s up to you. Who will live, and who will die among the supporting characters? The choice is yours.
For fans of the show, South Park: Stick of Truth is a necessary addition to their gaming library. Plenty of video games attempt to capture the spirit of a television show or movie, but none has been as successful as Stick of Truth.
Drawing inspiration from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, as well as the Francis Ford Coppola adaptation Apocalypse Now, Spec Ops: The Line tells of a three-man Delta Force team sent into a Dubai decimated by sandstorms, tasked with tracking down rogue Colonel John Konrad and his 33rd Infantry. Having disobeyed a direct order to abandon Dubai, Konrad and his men remained to provide aid to the remaining population. Their last transmission repeats on an endless loop: “Attempted evacuation of Dubai ended in complete failure. Death toll: too many.” So far, so Call of Duty.
Okami is one of the most beautiful games to watch come to life on screen. Some might find the computer generated voices and large amounts of reading off putting. However, as someone who has practically grown up inside a book, Okami is simply an animated novel that I am able to interact with.
The first Silent Hill game introduced us to a very different version of the survival horror genre we had come to know. Before its release, it was only the jump scares and twitch action of the Resident Evil series that most players were really familiar with. Silent Hill would come to shake up that formula dramatically.
As a teenager, I felt I would never age. Yet I also knew I would, and more than that, I could anticipate that when I did, everything would change. So I stood then, with confused ideas about time. The future would never arrive, yet it was also imminent. Now, my teenage years were horribly boring and sexless, so I was certainly looking forward to some sort of revolution. It was only a matter of emerging out the far side of high school, into the end of the world as I knew it. Life is a succession of points of no return, and if we find apocalyptic stories about crashing asteroids and alien invasions so absorbing, it might be because they exaggerate this fact. Popular fiction brims with characters who undergo processes of self-discovery while everything around them burns, from The Lord of the Rings to Akira. Watershed moments can be as monumental as they can be personal and private, and though graduating high school or parting with your family are not exactly comparable to a tidal wave, such commonplace events can inspire fear and trembling regardless.