Everything’s a game to you

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I’ve already seen a few puffed-up reviews proclaiming Grand Theft Auto IV as the first work of True Art ever in video game form. Then I look at this week’s top DVD pick, a quiet movie about a brilliant mind trapped in a paralyzed body, and am reminded how very far video games have to go before the medium’s half as mature as film. But, hey — carjacking! And jokes about anuses!

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Not that film’s perfect. The big-name DVD this week is The Golden Compass, which I highly recommend avoiding at all costs. It’s probably the most egregious example of Hollywood compression and missing the damn point as you’re likely to see, and the excessive, obvious CG makes it all the worse. If I want pretentious religious criticism in video game form, I’ll just play Xenogears, thanks.

20 thoughts on “Everything’s a game to you

  1. This has to be mentioned: The absolute worst thing about Mario Kart Wii is that they cut out GP Multiplayer. Considering that this is about 90% of what my friends and I did with previous entries, this one is perma-placed at the bottom of the Kart list. I can’t even remember the last time I was this disappointed.

  2. I’m making an effort to avoid reading anything about GTA4. Not because I want to experience it for myself but because the game inspires profound apathy in me, and the more media exposure and lavish praise I see the stronger this disinterest becomes.

  3. Uh, how exactly are Japanese people any more innately predisposed to dislike first-person shooters? Is it their slanty-eyes or something? I doubt that there is something in the noble, Japanese spirit that dislikes shooting things from the first person.

  4. Don’t be a racist asshole. Japanese gamers tend to have a high incidence of motion sickness induced by first-person perspectives. I have no idea why, but it’s true — and any number of Japanese developers have discussed it frankly over the years, including Miyamoto and Kojima.

  5. That’s the most popular explanation, but I was given a different one once. I was told Japanese game design is very fond of making PCs with distinct personalities and that Japanese gamers like to have these characters as a degree of separation between themselves and the gameworld, while the FPS design ideal is to provide a blank character on to which the player can project themselves as much as possible. In short, Japanese gamers prefer losing themselves to asserting themselves the a gameworld.

  6. He may be a racist bastard, but he was kind enough to provide us all with his e-mail address. Have fun with your new subscription to Playgirl online, Hugh!

  7. Man, I’m not trying to be a racist! I was (unsuccessfully) trying to articulate that it seemed like a weird generalization to me. But, yeah, it was a stupid way to do it and I apologize.

    I guess I just have some difficulty buying that an entire nation of people would somehow be more prone to motion sickness than any other.

  8. Why is that hard to buy? There are many people in the world who are more susceptible to certain things because of their genetic backgrounds. Sickle-cell disease, for example, is much more common in people whose heritage includes sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria is common.

  9. On a side note, was Golden Compass really that big of a box office bomb? It didn’t do so hot in the US, but it seems like it made up the difference in the international market.

  10. Sarcasmorator: Fair enough, but as you say, sickle-cell anaemia is caused because “in areas where malaria is common there is a survival value in carrying the sickle-cell genes.” (to quote the Wikipedias)

    Again, I don’t know, I just have some difficulty with equating a blood cell condition to motion sickness. I’d be much more likely to buy into something like Nemo Incognito’s explanation. But, yeah, I totally could have been less inflammatory.

    Anyway, thanks for all the gay porn guys.

  11. Another example of genetic predisposition common among Asians: lactose intolerance. (Or rather, northern Europeans tend to have a genetic mutation that gives them lactose tolerance beyond childhood.) But point taken; I’m sure it’s more complex than motion sickness, but that is an undeniable factor in the unpopularity of the FPS genre in Japan. And I don’t think the Wii Zapper is going to change it.

  12. I don’t know much about why Japanese people tend to get motion sickness, but it’s probably a genetic trait. The only correlation between that and sickle cell is that they’re both specific to their respective populations. I’m not equating motion sickness to sickle-cell disease, I simply used sickle-cell as an example because it’s well-known. Not all genetic traits are beneficial, or have obvious benefits.

  13. I’m pretty much not down with Nemo’s explanation, useful as it is — the typical JRPG/Dating Sim/Harem Anime caters to the gaming crowd, and provides almost nothing BUT blank, voiceless heroes, usually black-haired, onto which the player is meant to project their identity. Many of these characters don’t even HAVE faces, to prevent any sort of particular trait interfering with the transfer of personality.

    I’m with parish; a nation that tends towards motion sickness seems more plausible. And as far as national traits go, it’s a similar reason that bagels as a food never took off in Japan — attempts to introduce shops were met with “We don’t talk as much as Americans, so our jaws aren’t strong enough to chew them.”

  14. I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed that since my experience with visual novels doesn’t extend beyond reading the Wikipedia pages on Tsukihime and Fate Stay Night.

    But I can’t think of any JRPGs that do this. WRPGs absolutely but not Japanese ones. At worst you have mute protagonists like Crono but even they have distinctive appearances or their own reactions to events.

  15. If by pretentious religious criticism you mean incisive criticism as relates to religious institutions, yes.

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