Cage Kane Payne

 Cinematic Action Games, Critique, Game Arts  Comments Off on Cage Kane Payne
Jul 022012

In a short period of time I have played three games that may not seem to be similar or related. The co-op shooter Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, the straight up cover shooter Max Payne 3, and the thriller Heavy Rain share a third-person perspective, though, one that reflects their central cinematic aspirations. Although their critical reputations vary, each of these games is an interesting failure in the project of creating a playable movie. Their problems illustrate that the project of making a playable game conflicts with the plan to create a visually interesting film. In my previous critique [Read more…]

Sep 082011
The crying game

At ihobo yesterday, Chris Bateman renewed his argument that game mechanics don’t (or can’t) make you cry. As he puts it in his original post on this subject from 2008: This is the nub of the issue here: a story can make you cry by empathising with the protagonist (or another character), but a game (when viewed as a formal system) cannot do this. It follows that the only way that a videogame can make you cry is by using narrative tools that have nothing to do with games as formal systems whatsoever. Although I think there’s something to this, [Read more…]

Sep 082011

One of the differences between analog games and videogames lies in the nature of their rules. Continuing from the example in my last post, Simon plays chess with 32 pieces and a board, and the number of things he can do with them that are not “playing chess” is incalculable. He could, for instance, choose to toss his pieces at the board, scoring points if they hit a square of the matching color. The potential actions constitute an enormous possibility space, and the rules of chess primarily serve to restrict it. Tom plays chess with a chess program, and the [Read more…]

Sep 072011
A Tale of Two Chesses

If I throw a ball at you I don’t expect you to drop it and wait until it starts telling stories. —Marku Eskelinen “The Gaming Situation” Game Studies 1(1) 2001. That’s true, but it begs the question: is a videogame like a ball? If we intend to interpret videogames entirely in terms of rules and mechanics then obviously we ought to model our study off the long tradition of analog games. In correspondence on the subject of videogame criticism published by Paste Magazine, Simon Ferrari explicitly framed his discussion with Tom Bissell in this way, pointing the long history of [Read more…]