Obscured View

A few chosen words on the world of video games

Archive for May, 2008

Indiana Jones and the– WTF?!

I don’t get it.

I really, really don’t get it.

I don’t see how Spielberg, Harrison Ford, and hell, even Lucas could look at the script for KotCS and not just collectively say “uh, yeah, not really feeling it.”

If you’ve not seen the film, then this is your spoiler alert to stop reading right now. Honestly, if you loved Raiders and liked the other two to varying degrees, you should not see this film anyway. It is indeed a logical progression to the trilogy — logical in the sense that with each film they got more comic and less threatening than the film that came before.

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Can Bioshock survive the game to movie transition?

I have a lot of discussions with friends about how you would make Bioshock into a great film, and we’re having a very hard time coming up with solutions to its issues.

First, let’s get it out of the way that it’s a dynamite environment. When I first heard about it, I immediately thought of a chapter from Logan’s Run (the book, it’s not in the film) about Logan chasing his runner to this underwater dome / city that was abandoned and being reclaimed by the sea one bulkhead and passage at a time. I LOVED the images that conjured up, and I guess so did Ken Levine, since he mentioned that book specifically in one interview.

So the location and setting is compelling. Rapture, this dream of an underwater utopia gone sour. Awesome stuff. Free market principal taken to the extreme. Great. The discovery of Adam, which corrupted the entire city. The literal apple to Ryan’s garden. Wonderful.

Ok, so now what?

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Yellow… Car!!!

Being drunk in GTA IV is really fun.  I realize that’s not PC to say, but it’s truly damn hilarious.  The movement controls go crazy, and the dialog is a blast, especially if you try hailing taxis or stealing cars while smashed.  I think there’s levels to drunkenness, and so far drinking with Packie seems to get you the most drunk.  Falling down drunk.  Take two steps and you’re kissing sidewalk drunk.  It doesn’t get old.

What I admire about GTA is that everything in the game has been covered.  Drunk and hailing a cab?  Yep, we’ve got unique audio for that.  It all plays into the immersion, but I find that great games come from anticipating what players expect and going beyond those expectations.

I think it also helps that Niko is the best main character they’ve ever had in a GTA game.  He’s a killer and a bully, but he’s got a lot of pathos, loves his family and fiends, and has no illusions about how bad what is does really is.  His moral compass isn’t strong (rather, the player’s isn’t, for that matter), but he’s got heart at the end of the day.  You get to see more and more of this as you take him out with friends and date others.  His honesty about himself makes him more likable than any other GTA character and many others in recent games.

I remember seeing an episode of COPS once where a guy was busted for selling crack.  They found it on him.  In bags.  He kept insisting that it was “peanuts!  just peanuts!” and was screaming it to everyone around him and the camera as he resisted arrest.  It wasn’t peanuts.  It was bags of crack cocaine.  I just can’t believe that someone would even try to act that stupid.  What scares me is that that guy, when he got thrown in prison likely said that he was wrongfully arrested for selling peanuts rather than crack, blaming his incarceration on the cops, the “man”, whitey, the camera crew — anything and anyone but himself.

It’s funny and sad that a made-up character in a fictional world has a firmer grasp on reality and his own actions than most of the criminals we have on our own streets… at least the ones that COPS prefers to show us.

Speaking of honesty making for compelling drama, I remember a character from a film with James Woods called True Believer.  It was a courtroom drama.  A drug dealer and thug that saw the crime in question (or was somehow involved — it’s been over 10 years since I saw the film!) was called to the witness stand and asked what his name was, then what his profession was.

“I deal drugs.”

BAM! Instant credibility.

It’s amazing how far honesty can take you, especially when everyone is expecting you to not be.

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Castle Vidcons

I stumbled on to Castle Vidcons from a something awful comedy goldmine edition. It’s great stuff, and I just had to share.

Castle Vidcons Site

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Thoughts on GTA IV

It’s Grand Theft Auto… 4.

You do what you did in the other 3D GTA games, but with nicer graphics and likely the best main character (personality wise) of any of the installments of the series so far.

The addition of ample taxis has done one thing to the game — I don’t drive nearly as much as in previous GTA games.  After a point, the $20-60 bucks it costs to get anywhere doesn’t even register, and it sure beats stealing a car and then having to lose your wanted level when you’re seen jacking something… or when you’re trying to juggle all the dating in the game.

Also, in the best tradition of Celebrity Jeopardy from SNL, the hostile cab driver from Roman’s company makes the rides well worth it.  It mirrors the Trebek / Connery absurd hostility from those great skits.

Is it a perfect 10 game?  Considering the lock-ups and crashes, I’d say no, but that’s likely because of the 360, not the game.  There’s nothing new here, but it’s all very well done, as you’d expect.

Actually, for the quantity of content in single player, and then multi on top of it, you can kinda see why its gotten such high reviews.


Teasers at the end of credits…

…they’re getting old.

Maybe it’s an age thing, but after a film is over, if there’s nothing to really compel me to watch the ever-expanding credit lists of a film — seriously, do we need to see the receptionists at the effects houses credited? Human resources?! The people that hired the people that worked on the film?! — I’m out of my seat once the initial rush for the exit calms a bit.

If you want there to be something for the audience, put it at the front of the credits, or mixed in with them, like Pixar’s “outtakes”. Or, offer a hint that there may be something for the end credits if you really, really feel compelled to put it there.

Better yet, put that scene out on YouTube (legally) so that those that didn’t stay have something to continue their interest in the film. I can’t justify going back to a theater to see a film (although in this case it was certainly an enjoyable one) just for a 30 second scene.

So waah, yes we didn’t stay through the entire credit list after Iron Man, so we missed the Nick Fury scene. If you’ve not seen it yet, I guess you should stay to the very end.

At least that way, whomever is working in HR will feel a bit more loved.

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