Back in July of this year, Daniel Lipscombe wrote “Why I Play Games: My Escapism”, an excellent piece for Resolution Magazine on gaming as a means of positive escapism. He considered gaming as an extension of fantasy, with role-playing games allowing players to take on Cinderella-like roles in a fairy-tale, such as the prevalence of nobody-to-somebody plots in the Final Fantasy series. He also considered gaming as a social platform, something that’s flourished as online gaming has proliferated and become increasingly mainstream. I certainly agree with him that, some who feel like social outcasts have found gaming communities to belong to. Without stereotyping, I’ve met people like this in World of Warcraft and Everquest II, their personalities shining in the absence of self-doubt based in reality. Then again – and here I am stereotyping – for some of these people this social dependence on gaming is akin to the psychological clutter found in mocking Internet series The Guild, in which players’ social and virtual worlds clash amusingly, but also disastrously.
Daniel’s sagest observation, however, was that in one form or another most games involve a problem that has to be solved, or more pertinently that can be solved. Daniel admirably wrote about his daughter’s passing away, which happened two and a half years ago. It’s something which I’ll readily admit and accept as too unfair and tragic for me to really have a handle on.
Following on from my contribution last month to Hi-Score’s “Top Ten Platformers… with a twist” feature, I’ve been lucky enough to be part of the site’s second Top Ten… feature, this time on baddies. A lot of my writer buddies contributed to this one, including Christos Reid, Gary Blower aka Xantiriad, Jennifer Allen, and Adam Standing. Also notable is the contribution from GameSpot‘s very own Kevin VanOrd, so do check it out. As for me… well, rather than selecting a particular baddie, I decided to be different/difficult and choose a particular boss fight. This is what I wrote on Super Mario World‘s psychedelic final boss encounter:
NB: The “Top Ten Baddies: With a Twist” feature has now been reposted at Nidzumi.
“This week we’re joined by Sinan and Joe from Big Red Potion, pin them to the walls of our sex dungeon and flog them until they discuss; the dreaded Pile of Shame – how big is too big? What if we sent 5 items to represent gaming into space? What would we choose? Finally, the return of an old friend: Second Life – a genuine game or crutch for the socially stinted?”
Listen to this podcast at GamerDork
When EA announced Burnout Paradise as an open-world racing game, news sites revelled in the concept of a sandbox-style Burnout experience. When it released, that concept held steadfast in the eyes of many critics, who hailed the game as the rightful heir to Oblivion as the ultimate sandbox video game. It’s an understandable view, given the freedom Burnout Paradise offers; players can roam a large area that’s full of separate, optional objectives. This, coupled with the deliberate downplaying of the main progressional arc (license upgrading), promotes the feeling of being let loose within a sandbox.