April 2nd, 2009
Finally within the monthly time frame, your dose of recommended readings for March. Many of the links here reflect subjects that I’ve discussed previously on this blog, and are hence natural extensions of the things I’d have to say, written by more talented writers, of course. Resident Evil 5’s racism issue for instance, is a topic I’m keen to explore but honestly probably won’t look at for at least another year. As too are topics about the specialized language systems in games and some poking at the high production portable mentality. Essentially, if you like what you read here, then you’ll probably thoroughly enjoy these:
Resident Evil 5 – Opinions, Further Readings and an Odd Competition
Plenty of interesting discussion on Resident Evil 5 to share. Just to get them out the way, I found the Eurogamer and Crispy Gamer reviews particularly hard-hitting and well thought out. Tom Chick continued the discussion seen in the Crispy Gamer review with some interesting second opinions and the site concluded all this with Gus Mastrapa’s mini history into the use of black people in the horror genre. It rounds off what I consider to be very thorough coverage of a particularly important issue which needs suitably mature discussion.
N’gai Croal also made some very interesting commentaries on 1UP’s Listen Up podcast (I can’t find the link!), regarding the research behind the game and the justification behind the infamous swamp section. The latter in which the player stumbles upon an African tribe, wearing traditional garbs, and carrying spears and wooden shields. His playing partner Stephen Totilo mentions the difference between the player and observer in this situation. In that the player views the game in a completely different light: they are eliminating threats rather than (the observation that) you play the role of a whitey par-taking in mass murder of another ethnicity.
Lastly, Capcom held a treasuring hunting competition in Trafalgar Square recently to promote Resident Evil 5. The contestants had to hunt down pieces of zombie flesh, take them to a set location and yell the word “Kijuju!” (RE5’s fictional location), each body part is worth X number of points, and the contestant with the highest number of points wins. Kinda weird, don’t you think? Particularly when you consider that the prize is an African holiday – ya know, the country which the game in question grossly mis-portrayed the citizens of. Supposively the competition was a success though.
As pointed out by Screen Play, Nintendo of Australia has re-opened its Club Nintendo program that was announced to hit Australia over a year ago. While particularly slim at the moment, the rewards on offer are pretty sweet, including Game & Watch Collection for the Nintendo DS, which can only be acquired through the rewards system either in Japan or Australia. Still, very little in comparison to what’s on offer in the UK though.
An interesting survey (of 300 people) regarding specialized language used in video games. Unfortunately I don’t think that James Portnow fleshed out his results well enough. Only a handful of sentences based on responses from 300 people seems odd, but overall it’s not a bad piece. I also found this video on Zath to be an interesting example of that specialized language in use.
Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime Talks DSi-Enhanced Games, ‘Zelda: Spirit Tracks’ And More – MTV Multiplayer
The thing I really wish to point out about this article is Stephen’s question regarding high profile games on the DS. He questions how Nintendo are facilitating this option for developers, (brilliantly) recognizing Vicarious Visions in the process too, good man Stephen.
I found this post particularly moving, as it shades the whole context of this game in a very different light. My previous interpretation of Katamari was unrelated to consumerism, but reading Keita Takahashi intentions, and then his personal reflection of how the game made him feel (and subsequently the development of the minimalist Noby Noby Boy countered) is really powerful stuff. Changes the way I ever considered looking at these games, much in the same way good critique would.