31 January 2011

Games and Guns

There’s a scene in Jackie Brown where Samuel L Jackson and Robert De Niro are watching a show called, ‘Chicks Who Love Guns’. It’s a show that wouldn’t be amiss on one of those ‘manly’ channels such as Bravo or Spike. In said show scantily clad women ripped straight from the rejection pile of Gladiators show off a variety of ordnance in a generic wasteland; they fire off rounds into thin air and shoot destructible objects for the sheer thrill of it. As De Niro watches the show fairly uninterested, Jackson provides his own narration, informing De Niro on the pros and cons of each weapon and how much he can make selling them. As I watched this scene for the first time many years ago, I found myself identifying each gun along with Jackson. ‘Oh that, that’s a Steyr AUG, hardly ever use them in Counter Strike; ooh AK-47 now that is a good gun.’ Looking back I’d spent so much time learning about these guns through gaming and head-shotting unsuspecting opponents it was no surprise I knew so much! Recently I’ve had reason to consider the ubiquitous nature of guns in gaming and I’ve thought about ways we could diversify their usage.

17 January 2011

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Review

Reboot, rebirth, reimagining; all common terms used in the entertainment industry to, more often than not, bring about interest in a stagnating franchise. With the video game industry supported by sequels it often appears safer to reinvent an old series rather than develop an original intellectual property. Mercury Steam is certainly brave for taking on the task of creating a 3D Castlevania after the significant failings of previous attempts. Especially considering the Spanish developer’s last release was the considerably drab Clive Barker’s: Jericho. Nevertheless, with the support of Kojima Productions, this franchise revival should not be so easily dismissed, and doing so would be an awful shame as Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is one of the most enjoyable and well-rounded action/adventure games of this generation.