Rethinking The Feature (An Alt. Model for Conventional Games Coverage)

October 10th, 2009

joker-batman

Ignore the important-sounding title, this is purely self-indulgence.

As you may have noticed from my recent coverage of Prince of Persia, Halo and Metroid Prime 3, I like to approach a single game from multiple contexts. The ability for a publication to frame a single game in different perspectives in different articles is tremendous. Collectively, such articles paint a richer picture of the play experience of the chosen video game, bolstering the amount of non-traditional writing about the product. It’s my kinda editorial, but unfortunately it’s the type of writing which is left for gutter writers like myself, so let’s theorize an example of an ideal break from writing conventions – cos I’m self-serving and all.

Just recently Batman: Arkham Asylum was released. This was a highly anticipated game and was also linked to a comic book licence. Let’s explore the sorts of content one could write about this game.

Pre-release

The History Behind the Canceled Dark Knight game
-Pandemic Studios were originally developing a game based on the Dark Knight licence, would be nice to see an investigative follow-up

History on Batman Games
1UP ran a feature which fits this bill

Review Diary
-a blogging diary of the game, similar to my recent Metroid Prime 3 articles

Post Release

Authenticity to the Comics
-the lore is an integral part of AA experience, would be interesting hearing a critique from an enthusiast’s perspective

Comparison to Live-action Batman
-probably a much easier, but equally as interesting piece

Analysis of the Depiction of Inmates
-something along the lines of this

Considerations for Design Analysis
-use of fixed and in-game narrative
-melding of gameplay styles
-reference list to borrowed material (Splinter Cell, Metal Gear, Metroid Prime, Bioshock)

DLC Reviews
-reviews of the additional content

Maybe 10 articles can be ripped from this template. This includes both pre and post release material which could predominately span the month surrounding the release, with the detailed analysis extending to maybe 2 months after release. Alternatively, a second opinion piece could be submitted 6 months later.

This model of alternative games coverage breaks away from the rigid news, reviews, previews structure whilst still delivering the same message, just in a more sophisticated form. Wrap this up with developer interviews, video coverage and news tidbits and you’ve got a pretty dandy package. Now if only people would take these ideas on.

Next: Back to Metroid Prime 3

  • What I’d like to see (and can’t be bothered to write about) would be the deconstruction oc the super hery mythos and player-as-character. How do I play a super hero? Batman? What would batman do? How does the game construct batman as ideology and batman as human being? Is batman supposed to be scared? Then why am I frightened while playing?

    For me, “Analysis of the Depiction of Inmates” was the most interesting topic blog-wise. ^^