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Archive

Posts Tagged ‘FEATURE’

Review: Bending Genres in Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

March 21st, 2013 No comments

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Review: Bending Genres in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

A look into the underpinnings of an unlikely sequel reveals the value of Luigi's spin-offs.

By: Jeremy Parish March 21, 2013

On the surface of it, Luigi's Mansion seems a strange choice for Nintendo to explore in a sequel, especially one arriving nearly 12 years after the first (and only other) entry in the series. The 2001 GameCube launch title was met with resounding jeers and criticism at its debut, disparaged as an insubstantial piece of fluff that exposed the tragedy of a Nintendo in sharp decline. As one of he company's first-ever large-scale critical duds, Luigi's Mansion marked (in spirit if not in fact) the beginning of a very difficult console cycle for Nintendo -- one salvaged by the Wii, though its spectre looms over the Wii U like the snickering apparitions Luigi is tasked with capturing in these solo outings.

Yet this counter-intuitive sequel works; and in fact Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon works not only as a game in its own right, but also in recontextualizing its predecessor as merely misunderstood rather than outright poor. Of course Luigi's Mansion didn't go over well. Every Nintendo console before the GameCube debuted with a core Mario title; we expected to be wowed with something revolutionary as the Emotion-Engine-crushing GameCube took to the stage. Instead, we got a compact confection of a side-story starring Luigi rather than Mario and shockingly light on anything resembling action -- not to mention completely absent platforming.

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Review: Bending Genres in Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

March 21st, 2013 No comments

Feature

Header

Review: Bending Genres in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

A look into the underpinnings of an unlikely sequel reveals the value of Luigi's spin-offs.

By: Jeremy Parish March 21, 2013

On the surface of it, Luigi's Mansion seems a strange choice for Nintendo to explore in a sequel, especially one arriving nearly 12 years after the first (and only other) entry in the series. The 2001 GameCube launch title was met with resounding jeers and criticism at its debut, disparaged as an insubstantial piece of fluff that exposed the tragedy of a Nintendo in sharp decline. As one of he company's first-ever large-scale critical duds, Luigi's Mansion marked (in spirit if not in fact) the beginning of a very difficult console cycle for Nintendo -- one salvaged by the Wii, though its spectre looms over the Wii U like the snickering apparitions Luigi is tasked with capturing in these solo outings.

Yet this counter-intuitive sequel works; and in fact Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon works not only as a game in its own right, but also in recontextualizing its predecessor as merely misunderstood rather than outright poor. Of course Luigi's Mansion didn't go over well. Every Nintendo console before the GameCube debuted with a core Mario title; we expected to be wowed with something revolutionary as the Emotion-Engine-crushing GameCube took to the stage. Instead, we got a compact confection of a side-story starring Luigi rather than Mario and shockingly light on anything resembling action -- not to mention completely absent platforming.

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An Unflattering Boll Cut

March 6th, 2013 No comments

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1UP COVER STORY

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An Unflattering Boll Cut

Why the notorious director of Postal, Alone in the Dark, and BloodRayne might actually be a genius.

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ew names raise the ire of gamers as much as Uwe Boll's. The mere mention of his name in certain circles is sure to cause great anguish and a gnashing of teeth. He is as reviled among video game enthusiasts as Jack Thompson. Boll makes movies, famously terrible movies, that transcend their mere affiliation with video gaming in their universal dislike. It's not just gamers who hate his films, but everyone. It's gamers, however, who harbor the purest of hatred. His highest rated film on film-review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes is 11% fresh. His lowest is 2005's Alone in the Dark, which has a 1% fresh rating. That's one percent. Anyone with good taste, or any taste for that matter, is put off by the mind-numbingly terrible movies Boll is somehow able to churn out with a surprising regularity. Video gamers hate him particularly because of his films like Postal, Far Cry, and BloodRayne.

But is the unmitigated hate warranted? Is there some redeeming nugget of genius hiding within these pictures, some sly subversiveness that we're all missing? To find out if perhaps Boll's movies are redeemable when viewed with a skeptical eye, I decided to put myself to the test by watching a few.

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An Unflattering Boll Cut

March 6th, 2013 No comments

Feature

1UP COVER STORY

Header

An Unflattering Boll Cut

Why the notorious director of Postal, Alone in the Dark, and BloodRayne might actually be a genius.

F

ew names raise the ire of gamers as much as Uwe Boll's. The mere mention of his name in certain circles is sure to cause great anguish and a gnashing of teeth. He is as reviled among video game enthusiasts as Jack Thompson. Boll makes movies, famously terrible movies, that transcend their mere affiliation with video gaming in their universal dislike. It's not just gamers who hate his films, but everyone. It's gamers, however, who harbor the purest of hatred. His highest rated film on film-review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes is 11% fresh. His lowest is 2005's Alone in the Dark, which has a 1% fresh rating. That's one percent. Anyone with good taste, or any taste for that matter, is put off by the mind-numbingly terrible movies Boll is somehow able to churn out with a surprising regularity. Video gamers hate him particularly because of his films like Postal, Far Cry, and BloodRayne.

But is the unmitigated hate warranted? Is there some redeeming nugget of genius hiding within these pictures, some sly subversiveness that we're all missing? To find out if perhaps Boll's movies are redeemable when viewed with a skeptical eye, I decided to put myself to the test by watching a few.

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The Cinematic Nature of Parasite Eve

February 28th, 2013 No comments

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1UP COVER STORY

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The Cinematic Nature of Parasite Eve

Square's theatrical RPG was a bizarre evolutionary dead end in video game storytelling.

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arasite Eve is, after fifteen years, a forgotten footnote in the great video game canon. Yoko Shimomura's soundtrack endures lo these many years later, but otherwise it's just another of those wacky experiments from Squaresoft's golden age; a piece of trivia for RPG fetishists and PS1 buffs. Failure is the game's greatest legacy. Not as a game -- it's actually pretty great to play, even now -- but as a model for telling stories in games. Director Takashi Tokita and his team called their game a "cinematic RPG," an explicit attempt to meld the flash of film with what was at the time video game's best storytelling tools. It didn't work, but it was a necessary evolutionary step, fitting for a game that is itself all about evolution.

The common complaint about most story-based video games goes like this: I'd like the game if it wasn't for all the cut-scenes. As video games scrambled tooth and nail to tell stories, they naturally turned to the language of film for creating human drama. How else would you get two people in the game to talk to each other naturally? If you leave the player in control while the characters around them speak naturally, the scene loses its dramatic impact. Think about poor Alyx Vance in Half-Life 2 trying to have a serious chat about the miseries of life under the combine as Gordon Freeman spastically spins in circles, crowbarring everything in sight as he roots around for ammo like a pig for truffles. So the formula has gone like this: play a little game, stop for a brief cinema while the characters talk or there's a big action set piece impossible within the parameters of the game, play some more, watch a long cinema at the end. Technology has improved the formula, smoothing the transition by keeping the game's characters and models consistent across cut-scenes and play, but it's been largely the same since 1998 benchmarks like Metal Gear Solid.

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The Cinematic Nature of Parasite Eve

February 28th, 2013 No comments

Feature

1UP COVER STORY

Header

The Cinematic Nature of Parasite Eve

Square's theatrical RPG was a bizarre evolutionary dead end in video game storytelling.

P

arasite Eve is, after fifteen years, a forgotten footnote in the great video game canon. Yoko Shimomura's soundtrack endures lo these many years later, but otherwise it's just another of those wacky experiments from Squaresoft's golden age; a piece of trivia for RPG fetishists and PS1 buffs. Failure is the game's greatest legacy. Not as a game -- it's actually pretty great to play, even now -- but as a model for telling stories in games. Director Takashi Tokita and his team called their game a "cinematic RPG," an explicit attempt to meld the flash of film with what was at the time video game's best storytelling tools. It didn't work, but it was a necessary evolutionary step, fitting for a game that is itself all about evolution.

The common complaint about most story-based video games goes like this: I'd like the game if it wasn't for all the cut-scenes. As video games scrambled tooth and nail to tell stories, they naturally turned to the language of film for creating human drama. How else would you get two people in the game to talk to each other naturally? If you leave the player in control while the characters around them speak naturally, the scene loses its dramatic impact. Think about poor Alyx Vance in Half-Life 2 trying to have a serious chat about the miseries of life under the combine as Gordon Freeman spastically spins in circles, crowbarring everything in sight as he roots around for ammo like a pig for truffles. So the formula has gone like this: play a little game, stop for a brief cinema while the characters talk or there's a big action set piece impossible within the parameters of the game, play some more, watch a long cinema at the end. Technology has improved the formula, smoothing the transition by keeping the game's characters and models consistent across cut-scenes and play, but it's been largely the same since 1998 benchmarks like Metal Gear Solid.

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True Grit: The Influence of Westerns on Games

February 21st, 2013 No comments

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1UP COVER STORY

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1UP COVER STORY | WEEK OF FEBRUARY 18 | GAMES GO TO HOLLYWOOD

True Grit: The Influence of Westerns on Games

Cover Story: We examine how the romanticism of the Wild West influences games of all genres.

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n arid wasteland gives way to a small, ramshackle town as tumbleweeds blow past and a rattlesnake slithers by. The bustle of the town is interrupted by a herd of horses bearing a revolver-toting gang of criminals who claim the town as their own to do with what they see fit. Their leader steps forward towards the center of the one-street community, waiting patiently with his hand on his gun. Suddenly, a striking, striking presence appears sporting a star-shaped badge that reads "Sheriff" and stares down the ringleader. They pause, gaze at each other for a moment, then, once the sun hits its highest point, attempt to fire a single shot at one another. The sheriff is faster, as the ringleader grabs his chest and crumples to the ground. The rest of the gang is rounded up by the sheriff's posse and hung just outside of town.

If this sounds familiar, then you've probably seen one of the countless Western movies or TV shows that were created in the past century. But even though they seem reliant on staid tropes more than most genres, it still remains one of the most beloved across multiple media even today. And now that we're seeing it appear in video games, it can tell us much about how different groups of people perceived the concept and implemented it in this new medium.

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True Grit: The Influence of Westerns on Games

February 21st, 2013 No comments

Feature

1UP COVER STORY

Header

1UP COVER STORY | WEEK OF FEBRUARY 18 | GAMES GO TO HOLLYWOOD

True Grit: The Influence of Westerns on Games

Cover Story: We examine how the romanticism of the Wild West influences games of all genres.

A

n arid wasteland gives way to a small, ramshackle town as tumbleweeds blow past and a rattlesnake slithers by. The bustle of the town is interrupted by a herd of horses bearing a revolver-toting gang of criminals who claim the town as their own to do with what they see fit. Their leader steps forward towards the center of the one-street community, waiting patiently with his hand on his gun. Suddenly, a striking, striking presence appears sporting a star-shaped badge that reads "Sheriff" and stares down the ringleader. They pause, gaze at each other for a moment, then, once the sun hits its highest point, attempt to fire a single shot at one another. The sheriff is faster, as the ringleader grabs his chest and crumples to the ground. The rest of the gang is rounded up by the sheriff's posse and hung just outside of town.

If this sounds familiar, then you've probably seen one of the countless Western movies or TV shows that were created in the past century. But even though they seem reliant on staid tropes more than most genres, it still remains one of the most beloved across multiple media even today. And now that we're seeing it appear in video games, it can tell us much about how different groups of people perceived the concept and implemented it in this new medium.

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When Video Games Met Films

February 20th, 2013 No comments

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1UP COVER STORY

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1UP COVER STORY | WEEK OF FEBRUARY 18 | GAMES GO TO HOLLYWOOD

When Video Games Met Films

Cover Story: What the two industries could learn from one-another.

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oral ambiguity, brotherhood, and deception are themes prevalent in Infernal Affairs, a film that follows a Hong Kong police detective going undercover as a Triad gang member. If some of this sounds familiar, that's because the open-world game Sleeping Dogs loosely follows the film's script. However, the keyword here is loosely, as the game doesn't go out of its way to perfectly recreate the film, nor is it titled Infernal Affairs: The Game. It merely samples some of storyline elements and gives us an open-world crime game evoking the same themes as its movie counterpart.

Similarly, Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay is another example of a game inspired by a movie, but still manages to give us an original product that is fun to play. Despite having the film's name in its title, it doesn't follow any direct plot, but serves as a tie-in prequel of sorts to the Chronicles of Riddick franchise. Not being a direct translation from one medium to another saves the game from suffering the same fate many movie tie-in games often face.

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Scenes Missing: Movie-Based Games that Never Saw the Light of Day

February 20th, 2013 No comments

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1UP COVER STORY

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1UP COVER STORY | WEEK OF FEBRUARY 18 | GAMES GO TO HOLLYWOOD

Scenes Missing: Movie-Based Games that Never Saw the Light of Day

Cover Story: We explore some notable adaptations that were sentenced to an early death.

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 video game can be a measure of a film's success, a testament to its legacy years down the road. Or perhaps that game is merely a promotion, as much a part of the movie marketing as the action figures and collectible Taco Bell drinking cups. In some cases, a movie-based game isn't even released. Big-budget films might flop, companies might go under, and what was once a sure cash-in might become an abandoned project.


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